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Historical Memorials of Canterbury. 

First Edition 










Reprinted . 



Tenth Edition (2/6) 


Eleventh Edition (i/-). 

December, 1854 
May, 1855. 
July, 1857. 
November, 1864. 
November, 1867. 
July, 1874. 
November, 1875. 
April, 1880. 
January, 1884. 
October, 1887. 
March, 1891. 
April, 1895. 
September, 1900. 
March, 1904. 
October, 1909. 
March, 191 2. 


Memorials of Canterbury 








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NOV 8 - 1945 
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The five landings, 19; Gregory the Great, 21-24; Dialogue with the 
Anglo-Saxon slaves, 25-27 ; Mission of Augustine, 27, 28 ; Land- 
ing at Ebbe's Fleet, 28-30. 

Ethelbert and Bertha, 31 ; St. Martin's Church, 31 ; Interview of 
Ethelbert and Augustine, 32-34 ; Arrival of Augustine at Canter- 
bury, 35, 36 ; Stable-gate, 36 ; Baptism of Ethelbert and of the 
Kentish people, 36 ; Worship in the church of St. Pancras, 37 ; 
First endowment in the grant of the Cathedral of Canterbury, 39 ; 
Monastery, library, and burial-ground of St. Augustine's Abbey, 
41 ; Foundation of the Sees of Rochester and London, 43 j Death 
of Augustine, 44 ; Reculver, 44 ; Death of Ethelbert, 45. 

Effects of Augustine's mission : Primacy of Canterbury, 46, 47 ; Extent 
of English dioceses, 48 ; Toleration of Christian diversities, 49 ; 
Toleration of heathen customs, 50 ; Great results from small be- 
ginnings, 52. 


Variety of judgments on the event, 59 ; Sources of information, 60-62. 

Return of Becket from France ; Controversy with the Archbishop of 
York on the rights of coronation, 62, 63 ; Parting with the Abbot 
of St. Albans at Harrow, 65 ; Insults from the Brocs of Saltwood, 
66 J Scene in the Cathedral on Christmas-day, 66-68. 

Fury of the king, 69 ; The four knights. 70 ; Their arrival at Salt- 
wood, 72 ; at St. Augustine's Abbey, 73 ; The fatal Tuesday, 74 ; 
The entrance of the knights into the Palace, 75. 

Appearance of Becket, 76 ; Interview with the knights, 76-80 ; Their 
assault on the Palace, 81. 

Retreat of Becket to the Cathedral, 83 ; Miracle of the lock, 83 ; Scene 
in the Cathedral, 85 ; Entrance of the knights, 85 ; The transept 
of " The Martyrdom," 86-89. 



S Contents, 

Meeting of the knights and the Archbishop, 89 ; Struggle, 90 ; The 
murder, 91-93 ; Plunder of the Palace, 94 ; The storm, 95. 

The dead body, 95 ; The watching in the choir, 96 ; The discovery of 
the hair-cloth, 97 ; The aurora borealis, 98. 

The morning, 99 ; Unwrapping of the corpse and discovery of the 
vermin, 99, 100 ; Burial in the crj'pt, loi ; Desecration and re- 
consecration of the Cathedral, loi ; Canonisation, 102. 

Escape of the murderers, 103 ; Turning-table at South Mailing, 103 ; 
Legend of their deaths, 104, 105 ; Their real history, 106; Morc- 
ville, Fitzurse, Bret, Fitzanulph, 107, 108; Tracy, loS-iii; 
Pictorial representations of the murder, 112, 113. 

The king's remorse, 114 ; Penance at Argenton, Gorham, and Avran- 
ches, 116; Ride from Southampton, 119; Entrance into Canter- 
bury, 119; Penance in the crypt, 120; Absolution, 120; Con- 
clusion, 122. 

Historical lessons of Canterbury Cathedral, 128 ; The tombs, 129. 

Birth of the Black Prince, 130; Union of hereditary qualities, 130; 
Education at Queen's College, Oxford, 131 ; Wycliffe, 132. 

Battle of Cressy, 133-13S * Name of "Black Prince," 136 ; Battle of 
Poitiers, 136-140. 

Visit to Canterbury, 140; "Black Prince's Well" at Harbledown, 140; 
" King John's Prison," 140. 

Marriage — chantry in the crypt, 141 ; "Fawkes' Hall," 141 ; Spanish 
campaign, 142 j Return — sickness, 142 ; Appearance in Parlia- 
ment, 143 ; Death-bed, 143 ; Exorcism by the Bishop of Bangor, 
147 ; Death, 146. 

Mourning, 146 ; Funeral, 148, 149 ; Tomb, 150 ; Effects of the Prince's 
life : (l) English and French wars, 153 ; (2) Chivalr)- — sack of 
Limoges, 154; (3) First great English captain, and first English 
gentleman, 156. 


1. Ordinance for the Two Chantries founded by the 

Black Prince in the Undercroft of Christ Church, 
Canterbury, 159. 

2. The Will of the Black Prince, 164. 
Notes by Mr. Albert Way, 171. 

Contents. 9 


Comparative insignificance of Canterbury Cathedral before the murder 
ofBecket, 181. 

Relative position of Christ Church and St. Augustine's, 182 ; Change 
effected by Archbishop Cuthbert, 185. 

Effect of the " Martyrdom," 186 ; Spread of the worship of St. Thomas 
in Italy, France, Syria, 1S8 ; in Scotland and England, 189 ; in 
London, 191. 

Altar of the Sword's Point, 192 ; Plunder by Roger and Benedict, 192. 

The tomb in the crypt, 193 ; Henry II., Louis VII., Richard I., 
John, 193. 

Erection of the Shrine, 194; The fire of 11 74, 194 ; William of Sens 
and William the Englishman, 195 ; Enlargement of the eastern 
end, 197 ; The watching chamber, 198. 

The translation of the relics in 1220, 198 ; Henry III., Langton, 198, 

Pilgrimages, 20 1 ; Approach from Sandwich, 202 ; Approach from 
Southampton, 203 ; The *' Pilgrims' Road," 203 j Approach from 
London, 203 ; Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, 203-208. 

Entrance into Canterbury, 209 ; Jubilees, 211 ; The inns, 212; The 
Chequers, 213 ; The convents, 214. 

Entrance into the Cathedral, 215. 

The nave, 216; The "Martyrdom," 217; The crypt, 218; The 
steps, 218; The crown, 221; The Shrine, 221; The Regale 
of France, 223. 

The well and the pilgrims' signs, 225 ; The dinner, 227 ; The town, 
228 ; The return, 228. 

Greater pilgrims, 229; Edward I., 229; Isabella, 229; John of 
France, 229. 

Reaction against pilgrimage, 230 ; The Lollards, 230 ; Simon of Sud- 
bury, 231 ; Erasmus and Colet, 232 ; Scene at Harbledown, 235. 

Visit of Henry VIII. and Charles V., 237. 

The Reformation, 238 ; Abolition of the festival, 238 ; Cranmer's 
banquet, 239 ; Trial of Becket, 240 ; Visit of Madame dc Mon- 
treuil, 243 ; DESTRUCTION OF THB Shrine, 243 ; Proclama- 
tion, 245. 

lO Contents. 

Conclusion, 249. 

Note A. — Extracts from the " PoHstoire " of Canterbury Cathedral, 252. 

Note R. — Extracts from the Travels of the Bohemian Embassy in 1465, 

Note C. — Extracts from the " Pelerino Inglese," 258, 

Note D.— The Pilgrims' Road, by Mr. Albert Way, 260. 

Note E. — The Pilgrimage of John of France, by the same, 26$. 

Note F. — Documents from the Treasury in Canterbury Cathedral, re- 
lating to the Shrine of Becket, with Notes by the same, 267. 

I. — Grants of William de Tracy, and of Amicia dc la More, 

II.— The " Corona " of St. Thomas, 272. 
III. — Miraculous cures at the Shrine of St. Thomas, 276. 
Note G. — The crescent in the roof of the Trinity Chapel, 281. 

Note H. — The painted windows commemorating the miracles of 
Becket, 283. 

Note I. — Bccket's Shrine in painted window, Canterbury, 288. 



The Cathedral from the north-east . Frontispitce 

"Becket's Sanctuary" 13 

St. Martin's Church, Canterbury 36 

The Ruins of the Infirmary Chapel of the Monastery 37 


Ground-Plan, Canterbury Cathedral .... 45 

North Door of De Estria's Screen, Inner Face . , 76 

Prior de Estria's Screen 76 

Plan showing the Course taken by Becket and the 

Knights who murdered him 77 

The Place of the Murder of Thomas A Becket . .108 

Triforium in the Choir : from within . , . .109 

Details of the Norman Staircase 109 

The Norman Tower 124 

The Choir, looking west 125 

The Tomb of the Black Prince in Canterbury 

Cathedral 140 

Surcoat, Helmet, Shield, Crest, etc., of the Black 

Prince, suspended over his Tomb .... 140 

Canopy of the Black Prince's Tomb in Canterbury 

Cathedral 141 

Enamelled Escutcheons affixed to the Altab Tomb in 
Canterbury Cathedral, upon which the Effigv of 
Edward the Black Trince is placed. . . .172 

J 2 Illustrations. 


IN Veneration or the Holy Trinity. . . . i73 

The Cloisters, through which Becket's Murderers 



Canterbury Cathedral from the north-west . . 205 

The Central Tower ^* 

^ ^ . . . ■ 219 
The Crypt 

The Crescent in the Roof of the Cathedral • 336 

Representation of Becket's Shrine in a Painted 
Window in Canterbury Cathedral . . • .237 

One Bay of the Corona 

One Bay of the Nave 

Becket's Shrine . • 291 



The following pages, written in intervals of leisure, taken 
from subjects of greater importance, have nothing to 
recommend them, except such instruction as may arise 
from an endeavour to connect topics of local interest with 
the general course of history. It appeared to me, on the 
one hand, that some additional details might be contributed 
to some of the most remarkable events in English history, 
by an almost necessary familiarity with the scenes on which 
those events took place ; and, on the other hand, it seemed 
possible that a comparative stranger, fresh from other places 
and pursuits, might throw some new light on local anti- 
quities, even when > they have been as well explored as those 
of Canterbury. 

To these points I have endeavoured, as nearly as pos- 
sible, to limit myself. Each of the four subjects which are 
here treated opens into much wider fields than can be 
entered upon, unless as parts of the general history of 
England. Each, also, if followed out in all their details, 
would require a more minute research than I am able to 
afford. But in each, I trust, something will be found which 
may not be altogether useless either to the antiquary or to 
the historian, who may wish to examine these events fully 
under their several aspects. 

Other similar subjects, if time and opportunity should 
be granted, may perhaps be added at some future period. 


14 Introduction, 

But the four here selected are the most important in them- 
selves, as well as the most closely connected with the 
history of Canterbury Cathedral. I have accordingly 
placed them together, apart from other topics of kindred 
but subordinate interest. 

The first Essay is the substance of a lecture delivered at 
Canterbury in 1854, and thus partakes of a more popular 
character than so grave a subject as the conversion of 
England would naturally require. For the reasons above 
stated, I have abstained from entering on the more general 
questions which the event suggests, — the character of 
Gregory the Great ; the relation of the Anglo-Saxon to the 
British Church ; and the spread of Anglo-Saxon Christianit>\ 
My purpose was simply to exhibit in full detail the 
earliest traditions of England and Canterbury respecting 
the mission of Augustine, and the successive steps by which 
that mission was established in Kent And I have endea- 
voured by means of these details to illustrate the remote 
position which Britain then occupied in relation to the rest 
of the civilised world, and the traces which were left in the 
country by the Roman civilisation, then for the first time 
planted among our rude Saxon forefathers. 

The second Essay, which originally appeared in the 
"Quarterly Review," September, 1853, has been since con- 
siderably enlarged by additional information, contributed 
chiefly through the kindness of friends. Here again the 
general merits of the controversy between Henry U. and 
Becket have been avoided ; and my object was then simply 
to give the facts of its closing scene. For this, my residence 
at Canterbury provided special advantages. The narrative 
accordingly purposes to embrace every detail which can 
throw any light on the chief event connected with the 
history of the Cathedral. In order to simplify the number 
of references, I have sometimes contented myself with 
giving one or two out of the many authorities, when these 
were sufficient to guarantee the facts. Of the substantial 

Introduction, 1 5 

correctness of the whole story, the remarkable coincidences 
between the several narratives, and again between the 
narratives and the actual localities, appear to me decisive 

The third Essay was delivered as a lecture at Canterbury, 
in July, 1852. Although, in point of time, it preceded the 
others, and was in part intended as an introduction to any 
future addresses or essays of a similar kind, I have removed 
it to a later place for the sake of harmonising it with the 
chronological order of the volume. The lecture stands 
nearly as it was delivered ; nor have I altered some allusions 
to our own time, which later events have rendered, strictly 
speaking, inapplicable, though, perhaps, in another point of 
view, more intelligible than when first wTitten. Poitiers is 
not less interesting when seen in the light of Inkermann, 
and the French and English wars receive a fresh and happy 
illustration from the French and English alliance. There 
is, of course, little new that can be said of the Black Prince ; 
and my chief concern was with the incidents which form his 
connection with Canterbury. But, in the case of so remark- 
able a monument as his tomb and effigy in the Cathedral, a 
general sketch of the man was almost unavoidable. The 
account of his death and funeral has not, to my knowledge, 
been put together before. 

The fourth Essay is the substance of two lectures 
delivered at Canterbury in 1855. The story of the Shrine 
of Becket was an almost necessary complement to the 
story of his murder; its connection with Chaucer's poem 
gives it more than local interest ; and it brings the history 
of the Cathedral down to the period of the Reformation. 
Some few particulars are new, and I have endeavoured to 
represent, in this most conspicuous instance, the rise, 
decline, and fall of a state of belief and practice now 
extinct in England, and only seen in modified forms on the 

In the Appendix to the two last lectures will be founJ 

l6 Introduction, 

various original documents, most of them now published for 
the first time, from the archives of the Chapter of Canter- 
bury. For this labour, as well as for much assistance and 
information in other parts of the volume, I am indebted to 
the kindness of my friend and relative, Mr. Albert Way. 
He is responsible only for his owti contributions ; but with- 
out his able and ready co-operation, I should hardly have 
ventured on a publication requiring more antiquarian know- 
ledge and research than I eould bestow upon it; and the 
valuable Notes which he has appended to supply this defect 
will, I trust, serve to perpetuate many pleasant recollections 
of his pilgrimages to Canterbury Cathedral. 

In publishing a new edition of these Memorials, with a 
few slight corrections, I cannot forbear to lament the loss of 
the two distinguished archaeologists whose names so often 
occur in these pages — Albert Way and Professor Willis. 

Au^ist, 1875. 


The La7iding of AugusiinCy 


Conversion of Etkelberi. 

The authentic materials for the story of the Mission of Augustine 
are almost entirely comprised in the first and second books of Bede's 
" Ecclesiastical Historj'," written in the beginning of the eighth 
centur}*. A few additional touches are given by Paul the Deacon 
and John the Deacon, in tlieir Lives of Gregory the Great, respect- 
ively at the close of the eighth, and the close of the ninth century ; 
and in iElfric's " Homily on the Death of Gregory " (a.d. 990-995), 
translated by Mrs. Elstob. Some local details may be gained from 
*' The Chronicles of St. Augustine's Abbey," by Thorn, and '* The 
Life of St. Augustine," in the Ac.'a Sanciorum of May 26, by 
Gocelin, both monks of St. Augustine's Abbey, one in the four- 
teenth, and the other in the eleventh century, but the latter written 
in so rhetorical a strain as to be of comparatively little use except 
for the posihumous legends. 

The Landing of Atigttstine, and 
Conversion of Ethelbert. 

Lecture delivered at Canterbury, April 28, 1854. 

'T^HERE are five great landings in English history, each 
^ of vast importance, — the landing of Julius Caesar, which 
first revealed us to the civilised world, and the civilised 
world to us ; the landing of Hengist and Horsa, which gave 
us our English forefathers, and our English characters ; the 
landing of Augustine, which gave us our Latin Christianity ^ 
the landing of William the Conqueror, which gave us our 
Norman aristocracy; the landing of William III., which 
gave us our free constitution. 

Of these five landings, the three first and most important 
were formerly all supposed to have taken place in Kent. 
It is true that the scene of Caesar's landing has been re- 
moved by the present Astronomer-Royal to Pevensey ; but 
there are still strong arguments in favour of Deal or Hythe. 
Although the historical character of Hengist and Horsa has 
been questioned, yet if they landed at all it must have been 
in Thanet. And at any rate, there is no doubt of the close 
connection of the landing of St. Augustine, not only with 
Kent, but with Canterbury. 

20 Tlie Five Landings, 

It is a great advantage to consider the circumstances of 
this memorable event in our local history, because it takes 
us immediately into the consideration of events which are 
far removed from us both by space and time — events too of 
universal interest, which lie at the beginning of the history, 
not only of this country, but of all the countries of Europe, — 
the invasion of the Northern tribes into the Roman Empire, 
and their conversion to Christianity. 

We cannot understand who Augustine was, or why he 
came, without understanding something of the whole state 
of Europe at that time. It was, we must remember, hardly 
more than a hundred years since the Roman Empire had 
been destroyed, and every country was like a seething cal- 
dron, just settling itself after the invasion of the wild barba- 
rians who had burst in upon the civilised world, and trampled 
down the proud fabric, which had so long sheltered the arts 
of peace, and the security of law. One of these countries 
was our own. The fierce Saxon tribes, by whomsoever led, 
were to the Romans in Britain what the Goths had been 
in Italy, what the Vandals had been in Africa, what the 
Franks had been in France ; and under them England had 
again become a savage nation, cut off from the rest of the 
world, almost as much as it had been before the landing 
of Julius Caesar. In this great convulsion it was natural 
that the civilisation and religion of the old world should 
keep the firmest hold on the country and the city which 
had so long been its chief seat That country, as we all 
know, was Italy, and that city was Rome. And it is to 
Rome that we must now transport ourselves, if we wish 
to know how and from whence it was that Augustine came 
— by what means, under God, our fathers received the light 
of the Gospel 

In the general crash of all the civil institutions of the 
Empire, when the last of the Caesars had been put down, 
when the Roman armies were no longer able to maintain 
tlieir hold on the world, it was natural that the Christian 

Gregory the Great. 


clergy of Rome, with the Bishop at their head, should 
have been invested with a new and unusual importance. 
They retained the only sparks of religious or of civilised life, 
which the wild German tribes had not destroyed, and they 
accordingly remained still erect amidst the ruins of almost 
all besides. 

It is to one of these clergy, to one of these Bishops of 
Rome, that we have now to be introduced ; and if, in the 
story we are about to hear, it shall appear that we derived 
the greatest of all the blessings we now enjoy from one who 
filled the office of Pope of Rome, it will not be A^dthout its 
advantage, for tsvo good reasons : First, because, according 
to the old proverb, every one, even the Pope, must have his 
due — and it is as ungenerous to deny him the gratitude 
which he really deserves, as it is unwise to give him the 
honour to which he has no claim ; and, secondly, because 
it is useful to see how different were all the circumstances 
which formed our relations to him then and now ; how, 
although bearing the same name, yet in reality the position 
of the man and the office, his duties towards Christendom, 
and tlie duties of Christendom towards him, were as dif- 
ferent from what they are now, as almost any two things are 
one from the other. 

It is then on Gregory the Great that we are to fix our 
attention. At the time we are first to meet him, he was not 
yet Pope. He was still a monk in the great monastery 
of St Andrew, which he had himself founded, and which 
still exists, on the Ccelian Mount at Rome, standing con- 
spicuous amongst the Seven Hills — marked by its crown 
of pines — rising immediately behind the vast walls of tne 
Colosseum, which we may still see, and which Gregory 
must have seen every day that he looked from his convent 

This is not the place to discuss at length the good and 
evil of his extraordinary character, or the position which he 
occupied in European history, almost as the founder of 

B 2 

Z2 Gregory tJie Great, 

Western Christendom. I will now only touch on those 
points which are necessary to make us understand what he 
did for us and our fathers. He was remarkable amongst 
his contemporaries for his benevolence and tenderness of 
heart. Many proofs of it are given in the stories which are 
told about him. The long marble table is still sho^^-n at 
Rome where he used to feed twelve beggars every day. 
There is a legend that on one occasion a thirteenth appeared 
among them, an unbidden guest — an angel, whom he had 
thus entertained unawares. There is also a true story, 
which tells the same lesson — that he was so much grieved 
on hearing of the death of a poor man, who, in some great 
scarcity in Rome, had been starved to death, that he in- 
flicted on himself the severest punishment, as if he had been 
responsible for it. He also showed his active charity in one 
of those seasons which give opportunity to all faithful 
pastors, and all good men, for showing what they are really 
made of, during one of the great pestilences which ravaged 
Rome immediately before his elevation to the pontificate^ 
All travellers who have been at Rome will remember the 
famous legend, describing how, as he approached at the 
head of a procession, chanting the Litany, to the great 
mausoleum of the Emperor Hadrian, he saw in a vision the 
Destroying Angel on the top of the tower sheathing his 
sword ; and from this vision, the tower, when it afterwards 
was turned into the Papal fortress, derived the name of the 
Castle of St. Angelo. Nor was his charity confined to this 
world. His heart yearned towards those old pagan heroes 
or sages who had been gathered to their fathers without 
hearing of the name of Christ. He could not bear to think, 
with the belief that prevailed at that time, that they had 
been consigned to destruction. One especially there was, 
of whom he was constantly reminded in his walks through 
Rome — the great Emperor Trajan, whose statue he always 
saw rising above him at the top of the tall column which 
stood in the market-place, called from him the Forum of 

Gregory the Great 23 

TrajaiL It is said, that he was so impressed ^vith the 
thought of the justice and goodness of this heathen sove- 
reign, that he earnestly prayed in St Peter's Church, that 
God would even now give him grace to know the name of 
Christ and be converted. And it is believed, that from the 
veneration which he entertained for Trajan's memory, this 
column remained when all around it was shattered to pieces ; 
and so it still remains, a monument both of the goodness of 
Trajan, and the true Christian charity of Gregory. Lastly, 
like many, perhaps like most remarkable men, he took a deep 
interest in children. He instructed the choristers of his 
convent himself in those famous chants which bear his 
name. The book from which he taught them, the couch 
on which he reclined during the lesson, even the rod with 
which he kept the boys in order, were long preserved at 
Rome j and in memory of this part of his life, a children's 
festival was held on his day as late as the seventeenth 

I may seem to have detained you a long time in 
describing these general features of Gregory's character. 
But they are necessary to illustrate the well-known story* 
which follows, and which was preserved, not, as it would 
seem, at Rome, but amongst the grateful descendants of 
those who owed their conversion to the incident recorded. 
There was one evil of the time — from which we are now 

* Lappenberg's Hist, of England (Eng. tions of the Kentish Church, by Albinus, 

Tr.), i. 13a Abbot of St. Augustine's (Bede Pref. p. 2). 

■ The story Is told In Bede, II. i. § 89, As the earliest of " Canterbury Tales," it 

and from hira is copied, with very slight seemed worthy of being here repeated 

variations, by all other ancient medircval with all the illustrations it could receive, 

writers. It has been told by most modem There is nothing in the story intrinsically 

historians, but in no instance that I have Improbable ; and, although Gregory may 

seen with perfect accuracy, or with the have been actuated by many motives of a 

full force of all the expressions employeiL more general character, such as are ably 

As Bede speaks of knowing it by tradi- imagined by Mr. Kemble, in the interest- 

tion, "traditione majorum," he may, as a ing chapter on this subject in his " Saxons 

Northumbrian, have heard it from the in England," yet perhaps we learn as 

families of the Northumbrian slaves. But much by considering in detail what in 

most probably it was preserved in St. Au- England at least was believed to be the 

g;ustinc's monastery at Canterbury, and origin of the mission, 
communicated to Bede* with other tradi- 

24 Gregory the Great, [587. 

happily free — which especially touched his generous heart, 
— the vast slave-trade which then went on through all 
parts of Europe. It was not only, as it once was in the 
British Empire, from the remote wilds of Africa that 
children were carried off and sold as slaves, but from 
every country in Europe. The wicked traffic was chiefly 
carried on by Jews and Samaritans \ ' and it afterwards 
was one especial object of Gregory's legislation to check 
so vast an evil. He was, in fact, to that age what Wilber- 
force and Clarkson, by their noble Christian zeal, have 
been to ours. And it may be mentioned, as a proof both 
of his enlightened goodness, and of his interest in this 
particular cause, that he even allowed and urged the sale 
of sacred vessels, and of the property of the Church, for 
the purpose of redeeming captives. With this feeling in 
his mind he one day went with the usual crowd that 
thronged to the market-place at Rome, when they heard, 
as they did on this occasion, that new cargoes of merchan- 
dise had been imported from foreign parts. It was 
possibly in that very market-place of which I have before 
spoken, where the statue of his favourite Trajan was looking 
down upon him from the summit of his lofty pillar. To and 
fro, before him, amongst the bales of merchandise, passed 
the gangs of slaves, torn from their several homes, to be 
sold amongst the great families of the nobles and gentry of 
Italy — a sight such as may still be seen (happily nowhere 
else) in the remote East, or in the southern states of North 
America. These gangs were doubtless from various parts : 
there were the swarthy hues of Africa ; there were the dark- 
haired and dark -eyed inhabitants of Greece and Sicily ; there 
were the tawny natives of Syria and Eg)j>t But amongst 
these, one group arrested the attention of Gregory beyond 
all others. It was a group of three* boys, distinguished 
from the rest by their fair complexion and white flesh, the 

' ^^^Milman'i " History of the Jews,* ' Thorn, 1737. "Trcf pueros." He 
ili. ao& alone £>ves the number. 

687.] Dialogue with Anglo-Saxon Slaves, 25 

beautiful expression of their countenances, and their light 
flaxen hair, which, by the side of the dark captives of the 
south, seemed to him almost of dazzling brightness,^ and 
which, by its long curls, showed that they were of noble 

Nothing gives us a stronger notion of the total separation 
of the northern and southern races of Europe at that time 
than the emotion which these peculiarities, to us so familiar, 
excited. He stood and looked at them ; his fondness for 
children of itself would have led him to pity them; that they 
should be sold for slaves struck (as we have seen) on another 
tender chord in his heart ; and he asked from what part of 
the world they had been brought. The slave merchant, 
probably a Jew, answered, ** From Britain, and there all the 
inhabitants have this bright complexion." * 

It would almost seem as if this was the first time that 
Gregory had ever heard of Britain. It was indeed to Rome 
nearly what New Zealand is now to England, and one can 
imagine that fifty years ago, even here, there may have been 
many, even of the educated classes, who had a very dim 
conception of where Nev/ Zealand was, or what were its 
inhabitants. The first question which he asked about this 
strange country was what we might have expected. The 
same deep feeling of compassion that he had already shown 
for the fate of the good Trajan, now made him anxious to 
know whether these beautiful children — so innocent, so 
interesting — were pagans or Christians. "They are pagans," 
was the reply. The good Gregory heaved a deep sigh 3 from 
the bottom of his heart, and broke out into a loud lamenta- 

* "Candidi corporis," Bede; "lactcl children were of noble birth.— See Pal- 

eorporis," Paul thb Deacon, c. 17 ; grave's *' History of the Anglo-Saxons," 

•'venustiyultQs, capillorum nitore," John p. 58 ; Lappenberg's Hist, of England, I. 

THfl Deacon ; " crine rutila," Gocelin ; 136. 

" capillos praecipul candoris," Paulus " " De Britannlae insula, cujus Incola^ 

DiAC. ; "capillum form3 egregia," P>kdk ; rum omnis faciessimilicandoref;ilgescit,'* 

** noble [etthelice) heads of hair," JEupric (Ada Sanct. p. 141 ; John the Deacon, 

(t is from these last erpre.vsions that it L ai.) 

aiay be inferred that the hair was un- • " Intimo ex corde longa trahcDS 

thorn, and therefore indicated that the cuspiria," Bedk. 

26 Dialogue with Anglo-Saxon Slaves, [537. 

tion expressed with a mixture of playfulness, which partly 
was in accordance witli the custom of the time,* partly per- 
haps was suggested by the thought that it was children of 
whom he was speaking. " Alas ! more is the pity, that faces 
BO full of light and brightness should be in the hands of the 
Prince of Darkness, that such grace of outward appearance 
should accompany minds without the grace of God within !"* 
He went on to ask what was the name of their nation, and 
was told that they were called " Angles " oi " Englisli." It 
is not without a thrill of interest that we hear the proud name 
which now is heard with respect and awe from the rising 
to the setting sun, thus uttered for the first time in the 
metropolis of the world — thus awaking for the first time a 
response in a Christian heart. "Well said," replied Gregory, 
still following out his play on the words — " rightly are they 
called Angles, for they have the face of angels, and they 
ought to be fellow-heirs of angels in Heaven." Once more 
he asked, " \Vliat is the name of the province from which 
they were brought?" He was told that they were "Deirans,** 
that is to say, that they were from Deira 3 (the land of ''wild 
beasts," or "wild deer"), the name then given to the tract of 
country between the Tyne and the Humber, including Dur- 
ham and Yorkshire. " Well said, again," answered Gregory, 
with a play on the word that can only be seen in Latin, 
" rightly are they called Dcirans, plucked as they are from 
God's ire (de ira Dei), and called to the mercy of Christ." 
Once again he asked, " And who is the King of that pro- 
vince ? " " Ella," was the reply. Every one who has ever 
heard of Gregory, has heard of his Gregorian chants, and of 
his interest in sacred music ; the name of Ella reminded 
him of the Hebrew words of praise which he had introduced 

* The tr.onymous biographer of Gre- tcncbrarum . . gratiS frontls . 
f^ory,'\a\.\\z Acta Sanctoruttt^lAxrch. It, gralLi Dei," Bkob : "Black Devil," 
p. 130, rejoices in the Pope's own name itLFRic. 

of good omea, " Gregorius," quasi " Vigi- ■ Dcore— Thier — deer. — See Soamas 
Untius." "Anslo-Saxon Church," ji. 

• " Tam luciJl Tultus . . . auctor 

687.] Mission of Aicgiistine, 27 

into the Roman service,' and he answered, " Allelujah ! the 
praise of God their Creator shall be sung in those parts." 

So ended this dialogue — doubly interesting because its 
very strangeness shows us the character of the man and the 
character of his age. This mixture of the playful and the 
serious — this curious distortion of words from their original 
meaning = — was to him and his times the natural mode of ex- 
pressing their own feelings and of instructing others. But 
it was no passing emotion which the sight of the three York- 
shire boys had awakened in the mind of Gregory. He went 
from the market-place to the Pope, and obtained from him 
at once permission to go and fulfil the design of his heart, 
and convert the English nation to the Christian faith. 

He was so much beloved in Rome, that great opposition 
(it was felt) would be made to his going ; and therefore he 
started from his convent with a small band of his com- 
panions in the strictest secrecy. But it was one of the 
many cases that we see in human life, where even the best 
men are prevented from accomplishing the objects they 
have most at heart He had advanced three days along 
the great northern road, which leads through the Flaminian 
gate from Rome to the Alps. "\\Tien3 they halted as usual 
to rest at noon — they were lying down in a meadow, and 
Gregory was reading; suddenly a locust leapt upon his 
book, and sat motionless on the page. In the same spirit 
that had dictated his playful speeches to the three children, 
he began to draw morals from the name and act of the 
locust " Rightly is it called Locusta," he said, " because 
it seems to say to us * Loco Sta,' " that is, " stay in your 
place. I see that we shall not be able to finish our jour- 
ney. But rise, load the mules, and let us get on as far as 
we can." It was whilst they were in the act of discussing 
this incident that there galloped to the spot messengers, on 

» See Flcury, H. E. xxxvl i8. Milman's " Hist of Latin Christianity,* 

• See the account of Gregory's own vol. L 435. 
Comaicataury on Job, as shortly given in • *' Vit, S. Greg." — Paul the Dbacom. 

2$ Mission of Augtcstine, [587. 

jaded horses, bathed in sweat, who had ridden after him at 
full speed from the Pope, to command his instant return. A 
furious mob had attacked the Pope in St Peter's Churcli, 
and demanded the instant recall of Gregory. To Rome he 
returned ; and it is this interruption, humanly speaking, which 
prevented us from having Gregory the Great for the first 
Archbishop of Canterbury and founder of the English Church. 

Years rolled away^ from the time of the conversation in 
the market-place before Gregory could do anything for the 
fulfilment of his wishes. But he never forgot it, and when 
he was at last elected Pope he employed an agent in France 
to buy English Christian youths of seventeen or eighteen 
years of age, sold as slaves, to be brought up in monasteries. 
But before this plan had led to any result, he received intel- 
ligence which determined him to adopt a more direct course. 
What this intelligence was we shall see as we proceed. [597.] 
Whatever it might be, he turned once more to his old con- 
vent on the Ccelian Hill, and from its walls sent forth the 
Prior, Augustine, with forty monks as missionaries to 
England. In one of the chapels of that convent there is 
still a picture of their departure. 

I will not detain you with his journey through France; 
it is chiefly curious as showing how very remote England 
seemed to be.* He and his companions were so terrified 
by the rumours they heard, that they sent him back to Rome 
to beg that they might be excused. Gregory would hear of 
no retreat from dangers which he had himself been prepared 
to face. At last they came on, and landed at Ebbe's Fleet,3 
in the Isle of ThaneL 

Let us look for a moment on the scene of this important 
event as it now is, and as it was then. You all remember 

' The mention of " Ella " In the dia- fleet ; «nd the name has been variously 

logue fixes the date to be before a.d. derived '"rem W'kipftd (a Saxon chief, 

588. Augustine was sent a.d. 597. killed in the first battle of Hengist), Ho^* 

" Greg. Epp. y. 10. (a haven). Abh€t {from its being afler- 

■ It is called variously HyPwine, Ep- wards the port of the Abbey of St Augus- 

697.] Landing at Elbe's Fleet, 29 

the high ground where the white chalk cliffs of Ramsgate 
suddenly end in Pegwell Bay. Look from that high ground 
over the level flat which lies between these cliffs and the 
point where they begin again in St. Margaret's cHffs, beyond 
Walmer. Even as it is, you see why it must always have 
invited a landing from the continent of Europe. The wide 
opening between the two steep cliffs must always have 
afforded the easiest approach to any invaders or any settlers. 
But it was still more so at the time of which we are now 
speaking. The level ground which stretches between the 
two cliffs was then in great part covered with water; the 
sea spread much further inland from Pegwell Bay, and the 
Stour, or Wensome* (as that part was then called), instead 
of being a scanty stream that hardly makes any division 
between the meadows on one side and the other, was then 
a broad river, making the Isle of Thanet really an island, 
nearly as much as the Isle of Sheppey is now, and stretching 
at its mouth into a wide estuary, which formed the port of 
Richborough. Moreover, at that remote age. Sandwich 
haven was not yet choked up, so that all the ships which 
came from France and Germany, on their way to London, 
sailed up into this large port, and through the river, out at 
the other side by Reculver ; or, if they were going to land 
in Kent, at Richborough on the mainland, or at Ebbe's 
Fleet in the Isle of Thanet 

Ebbe's Fleet is still the name of a farm-house on a strip 
of high ground rising out of Minster marsh, which can be 
distinguished from a distance by its line of trees, and on a 
near approach you see at a glance that it must once have 
been a headland or promontory running out into the sea 
between the two inlets of the estuary of the Stour on one 

' The " Boarded Groin " which I/Cwis the high ground running at the back of 

(Isle of Thanet. p. 83) fixes as tlie spot, level : the only vestige of the name now 

still remains, a little beyond the coast- preserved is "Cottington." But no tra- 

Ruard station, at the point marked in the dition marks the spot, and it must thca 

Ordnance Survey as the landing-place of have been covered by the sea. 
the Sazoiu. ' ' Cotmankfitld " seems to b« 

30 La7iding at Ebb^s Fleet [697. 

side, and Pegwell Bay on the other. What are now the 
broad green fields were then the waters of the sea. The 
tradition, that *' some landing " took place there, is still pre- 
served at the farm, and the field of clover which rises 
immediately on its north side is sho\\'n as the spot. 

Here it was that, according to the story preserved in the 
Saxon Chronicle, Hengist and Horsa had sailed in with their 
three ships and the band of warriors who conquered Vorti- 
gem. And here now Augustine came with his monks, his 
choristers, and the interpreters they had brought with them 
from France. The Saxon conquerors, like Augustine, are 
described as having landed, not at Richborough, but at Ebbe's 
Fleet, because they were to have the Isle of Thanet, for their 
first possession, apart from the mainland, — and Augustine 
landed there, that he might remain safe on that side the 
broad river, till he knew the mind of the king. The rock 
was long preserved on which he set foot, and which, accord- 
ing to a superstition, found in almost every country, was 
supposed to have received the impression of his footmark. 
In later times it became an object of pilgrimage, and a little 
chapel was built over it ; though it was afterwards called the 
footmark of St Mildred, and the rock, even till the beginning 
of the last century, was called " St. Mildred's rock," ' from 
the later saint of that name, whose fame in the Isle of Thanet 
then eclipsed that of Augustine himself. There they landed 
" in the ends," " in the corner of the world," * as it was then 
thought, and waited secure in their island retreat till they 
heard how the announcement of their arrival was received 
by Ethelbert, king of Kent. 

* " Not many years aeo," says Hasted iiotr called the footmark of thedromedary 

flv- 3'5)i writing in 1799. "A few years of Moses. The stone was thought to bo 

ago," says Lewis (Isle of Thanet, 58), gifted with the power of flying back to its 

writing in 1723. Compare, for a similar original place if ever removed.— ^Lam- 

transfcrcnce of names in more sacred bard's " Kent," p. 104). 
localities, the footmark of Mahomet in " "Fines mundi— gens Anglorum \a 

the Mosque of Omar, called during the mundi anfu.'t posita," Greg. Epp., ▼. 

Crusades the footmark of Christ, — and 158, 159. Observe the play oa the word, 

(he footcoark of Mahomet's mule 00 Sioai, as ia p. a6. 

597.] Ethelbert and Bertha, 31 

To Ethelbert we must now turn.' He was, it was 
believed, great-grandson of Eric, son of Henglst, surnamed 
" the Ash," * and father of the dynasty of the " Ashings,*' 
or " sons of the Ash-tree," the name by which the kings 
of Kent were known. He had besides acquired a kind of 
imperial authority over the other Saxon kings as far as 
the Humber. To consolidate his power, he had married 
Bertha, a French princess, daughter of the king of Paris. 
It was on this marriage that all the subsequent fate of 
England turned. Ethelbert was, like all the Saxons, a 
heathen; but Bertha, like all the rest of the French royal 
family from Clovis downwards, was a Christian. She had 
her Christian chaplain with her, Luidhard, a French bishop, 
and a little chapel 3 outside the town, which had once been 
used as a place of British Christian worship, was given up 
to her use. That little chapel, " on the east of the city," as 
Bede tells us, stood on the gentle slope now occupied by 
the venerable Church of St. Martin. The present church, 
old as it is, is of far later date, but it unquestionably retains 
in its walls some of the Roman bricks and Roman cement 
of Bertha's chapel ; and its name may perhaps have been 
derived from Bertha's use.-* Of all the great Christian saints 

* Ethelbert is the same name as Adal* passed fromEthelbert's palace to St Mar» 
bert and Albert (as Adalfuns = Alfons, tin's. (Battely's " Canterbury," i6). 
Uodelrich = Ulrich), meaning " Noble- * It is, however, possible that the 
bright." name of St. Martin may have been given 

" "Ashing " (Bede, H. 5, 9 loi) was to the church of the British Christiaas 
probably a general name for hero, in before. Bede's expression rather leans 
allusion to the primeval man of Teu- to the earlier origin of the name. "Erat 
tonic mythology, who was believed to .... ecclesia in honorera Sancti Mar- 
have sprung from the sacred Ash-tree tini antiquitus facta dum adhuc Roman! 
Ygdratil. (Grimm's " Deutsche Myth," Britanniam incolerent" St. Ninian, who 
^ 324. 53^. fii?)- Compare the venerable laboured amongst the Southern Picts, 
Ash which gives its name to the village a.d. 412-432, dedicated his church at 
of Donau-Eschingen, " the Ashes of the Whitehaven to St. Martin. Hasted (Hist. 
Danube, " by the source of that river. of Kent, iv. 496) states (but without 

• The postcm-gate of the Precincts giving any authority), that it was ori- 
opposite St, Augustine's gateway, is on ginally dedicated to the Virgin, and wsu 
the site Querungate, a name derived dedicated to St. Martin by Luidhard. 
—but by a very doubtful etymology — The legendary origin of the church, as 
from tho tradition that through It Bertha of that in the Castle of Dover ; of St. 

32 S^. Marlins ChurcJu 

of whom she had heard in France before she came to 
England, the most famous was St. Martin of Tours, and 
thus the name which is now so familiar to us that we hardly 
think of asking why the church is so called, may possibly be 
a memorial of the recollections which the French princess 
still cherished of her own native country in a land of 

To her it would be no new thought that possibly she 
might be the means of converting her husband. Her o^^^l 
great ancestor, Clovis, had become a Christian through the 
influence of his wife Clotilda, and many other instances had 
occurred in like manner elsewhere. It is no new story ; it 
is the same that has often been enacted in humbler spheres 
— of a careless or unbelieving husband converted by a 
believing wife. But it is a striking sight to see planted in 
the very beginning of our history, with the most important 
consequences to the whole world, the same fact which every 
one must have especially witnessed in the domestic history 
of families, high and low, throughout the land. 

It is probable that Ethelbert had heard enough from 
Bertha to dispose him favourably towards the new religion ; 
and Gregory's letters show that it was the tidings of this pre- 
disposition which had induced him to send Augustine. But 
Ethelbert's conduct on hearing that the strangers were 
actually arrived was still hesitating. He would not suffer 
them to come to Canterbury ; they were to remain in the 
Isle of Thanet with the Stour flowing between himself and 
them ; and he also stipulated that on no account should 
they hold their first interview under a roof — it must be in 
the open air, for fear of the channs and spells which he 
feared they might exercise over him. It was exactly the 
savage's notion of religion, that it exercises influence, not 
by moral and spiritual, but by magical means. This was 
the first feeling; this it was that caused the meeting to be 

rcter's.Cnmhill; of Westminster Abb«y; to King T.udiis. (Ussbcr, Brit EccL 
and of Wbchester Cathedral, is traced Ant., pp. 129, 130.) 

697.] Interview of Ethelbert and Augtistvie, 33 

held, not at Canterbury, but in the Isle of Thanet, in 
the wide open space — possibly at Ebbe's Fleet — possibly, 
according to another account, under an ancient oak on the 
high upland ground in the centre of the island,' then dotted 
with woods which have long since vanished.* 

The meeting must have been remarkable. The Saxon 
king, " the Son of the Ash-tree," with his wild soldiers 
round, seated on the bare ground on one side — on the other 
side, with a huge silver cross borne before him (crucifixes 
were not yet introduced), and beside it a large picture of 
Christ painted and gilded,3 after the fashion of those times, 
on an upright board, came up from the shore Augustine 
and his companions, chanting, as they advanced, a solemn 
Litany, for themselves and for those to whom they came. 
He, as we are told, was a man of almost gigantic stature,^ 
head and shoulders taller than any one else ; with him were 
Lawrence, who aftenvards succeeded him as Archbishop of 
Canterbury, and Peter, who became first Abbot of St. 
Augustine's. They and their companions, amounting alto- 
gether to forty, sat down at the king's command, and the 
interview began. 

Neither, we must remember, could understand the other^s 
language. Augustine could not understand a word of Anglo- 
Saxon, and Ethelbert, we may be tolerably sure, could not 
speak a word of Latin. But the priests whom Augustine 
had brought from France, as knowing both German and 
Latin, now stepped forward as interpreters; and thus the 

' See Lewis (Isle of Thanet, p. 83), was seated. (Cede, \\. a, S 9). In the 

" Under an oak that grew in the middle same chapel of St. Gregory's convent at 

of the island, which all the German pagans Rome, which contains the picture of the 

had in the highest veneration." He gives departure of Augustine, is one — it need 

BO authority. The oak was held saered hardly be said, with no attempt at histo- 

by the Germans as well as by the Eritons, rical accuracy — of his reception by Eth- 

Probably the recollection of this meet- elhert. 

!ng determined the forms of that which * As indicated by the names of places. 

Augustine afterwards held with the British (Hasted, iv. 292.) 

Christians on the confines of Wales, " " Formose atque aurate." {Acta 

Then, as now, it was in the open air, Sand., 326.) 

under aa oak — tlicn, as now, Augustine * Acta Sanct., 399. 

34 Interview of Ethelbert and Augustine, [597. 

dialogue which followed was carried on, much as all com- 
munications are carried on in the East, — Augustine first 
delivering his message, which the dragoman, as they would 
say in the East, explained to the king.* 

The king heard it all attentively, and then gave this 
most characteristic answer, bearing upon it a stamp of trutli 
which it is impossible to doubt : *' Your words are fairy and 
your promises — hut because they are new and douhtfU^ I can- 
fiot give my assent to the?n and leave the cu stains which I have 
so long observedy with the whole Anglo-Saxon race. But 
because you have come hither as strangers from a long distance y 
and as I seem to myself to have seen clearly y thai what you 
yourselves believed to be true and goody you wish to impart to 
uSy we do not wish to jnolest you; nayy rather we are anxious 
to receive you hospitably y and to give you all that is needed for 
your supporty nor do we hinder you from joining all whom 
you can to the faith of your 7'eligion" 

Such an answer, simple as it was, really seems to contain 
the seeds of all that is excellent in the English character — 
exactly what a king should have said on such an occasion — 
exactly what, under the influence of Christianity, has grown 
up into all our best institutions. There is the natural dis- 
like to change, which Englishmen still retain ; there is the 
willingness at the same time to listen favourably to anything 
which recommended by the energy and self devotion 
of those who urge it ; there is, lastly, the spirit of moderation 
and toleration, and the desire to see fair play, which is one 
of our best gifts, and which, I hope, we shall never lose. 
We may, indeed, well be thankful, not only that we had an 
Augustine to convert us, but that we had an Ethelbert for 
our king. 

From the Isle of Thanet, the missionaries crossed the 
broad ferry to Richborough, the "Eurgh" or castle of "Rete" 

* Exchange English travellers for Ro the way to Petra, pre us some notion of 
man missionaries, Arab sheikhs for Saxon this celebrated dialogus. 
chiefs, and the well-known interviews, on 

697.] Arrival of Augustine at Canterbury, 3$ 

or "Retep," as it was then called, from the old Roman 
fortress of Rutupiae, of which the vast ruins still remain. 
Underneath the overhanging cliiif of the castle, so the tradition 
ran, the king received the missionaries.' They then ad- 
vanced to Canterbury by the Roman road over St. Martin's 
hill. The first object that would catch their view would be 
the little British chapel of St. Martin, a welcome sight, as 
sho\^dng that the Christian faith was not wholly strange to 
this new land. And then, in the valley below, on the banks 
of the river, appeared the city — the rude wooden city as it 
then was — embosomed in thickets. As soon as they saw it, 
they formed themselves into a long procession ; they lifted 
up again the tall silver cross, and the rude painted board ; 
there were with them the choristers, whom Augustine had 
brought from Gregory's school on the Caelian Hill, trained in 
the chants which were called after his name, and they sang 
one of those Litanies ^ which Gregory had introduced for the 
plague at Rome. " We beseech thee, O Lord, in all thy 
mercy, that thy wrath and thine anger may be removed from 
this city, and from thy holy house. Allelujah." 3 Doubtless, 
as they uttered that last word, they must have remembered 
that they were thus fulfilling to the letter the very wish that 

* Sandvrich MS. in Boys' Sandwich a barbarous jargon, now has begun la 
(p. 838.) An old hermit lived amongst divine praises to sound Allelujah." It is 
the ruins in the time of Henry VIII. , and objected to this that the Commentary on 
pointed out to Leland what seems to have Job was written during Gregory's mission 
been a memorial of this in a chapel of St. to Constantinople, some years before this 
Augustine, of which some slight remains event, and that therefore the passage 
are still to be traced in the northern bank must relate to the victory gained by Ger- 
of the fortress. There was also a head manus in the Welsh mountains, by the 
or bust, said to be of Queen Bertha, shout of " Hallelujah." But the Corn- 
embedded in the walls— remaining till the mentary was only begun at Constanti- 
time of Elizabeth. The curious crossing rople. Considering the doubt whether 
in the centre was then called by the com- Gregory could have heard of the proceed- 
mon people, "St- Augustine's Cross," ings of Germanus, it may well be aques- 
(Camden, p. 342.) For this question see tion, whether the allusion in the Com- 
the Note at the end of this Lecture. mentary on Job was not added after ha 

■ Fleury, H. E., book xxxv. i. had heard of this fulfilment of his wishes. 

• Bede (II. L \ 87) supposes that it was At any rate, it illustrates the hold which 
to this that Gregory alludes in his Com- the word " Hallelujah" had on his mind 
mentary on Job, when he says, " Lo the in connection with the conversion of 
language of Britain, which once only knew Britain. 

3 6 Baptism of EthelherL [597. 

Gregory had expressed, when he first saw the Saxon children 
in the market-place at Rome. And thus they came down 
St Martin's hill, and entered Canterbury. 

Every one of the events which follow is connected with 
some well-kno\vn locality. The place that Ethelbert gave 
them first was " Stable-gate," by an old heathen temple, 
where his servants worshipped, near the present church of 
St. Alfege, as a " resting-place," where they " stabled " till 
he had made up his mind; and by their good and holy 
lives, it is said, as well as by the miracles they were sup- 
posed to work, he was at last decided to encourage them 
more openly, and allow tliem to worship with the queen at 
St. Martin's.^ 

In St. Martin's they worshipped, and no doubt the mere 
splendour and strangeness of the Roman ritual produced an 
instant effect on the rude barbarian mind. And now came 
the turning-point of their whole mission, the baptism of 
Ethelbert It was, unless we except the conversion of 
Clovis, the most important baptism that the world had seen 
since that of Constantine. We know the day — it was the 
Feast of Whit-Sunday — on the 2nd of June, in the year of our 
Lord 597. Unfortunately we do not with certainty know 
the place. The only authorities of that early age tell us 
merely that he was baptised, without specifying any particular 
spot Still, as St. Martin's Church is described as the scene 
of Augustine's ministrations, and, amongst other points, of 
his administration of baptism, it is in the highest degree pro- 
bable that the local tradition is correct And although the 
venerable font, which is there shown as that in which he was 
baptised, is proved by its appearance to be, at least in its 
upper part, of a later date, yet it is so like that which appears 
in the representation of the event in the seal of St Augustine's 
Abbey, and is in itself so remarkable, that we may perhaps 
fairly regard it as a monument of the event ; — in the same 
manner as the large porphyry basin in the Lateran Church 

• Thorn, 1758. 



697.] and of the Kentish People, 37 

at Rome commemorates the baptism of Constantlne, though 
still less corresponding to the reality of that event than the 
stone font of SL Martin's to the place of the immersion of 

The conversion of a king was then of more importance 
than it has ever been before or since. The baptism of any- 
one of these barbarian chiefs almost inevitably involved the 
baptism of the whole tribe, and therefore we are not to be 
surprised at finding that, when this step was once achieved, 
all else was easy. Accordingly, by the end of that year, 
Gregory ^vrote to his brother Patriarch of the distant Church 
of Alexandria (so much interest did the event excite to the 
remotest end of Christendom), that ten thousand Saxons had 
been baptised on Christmas Day* — baptised, as we learn 
from another source, in the broad waters of the Swale,3 at 
the mouth of the ^Medway. 

The next stage of the mission carries us to another spot 
Midway between St. Martin's and the town was another 
ancient building — also, it would appear, although this is 
less positively stated — once a British church, but now used 
by Ethelbert as a temple in which to worship the gods of 
Saxon paganism. Like all the Saxon temples, we must 
imagine it embosomed in a thick grove of oak or ash. This 
temple, according to a principle which, as we shall afterwards 
find, was laid down by Gregory himself, Ethelbert did not 
destroy, but made over to Augustine for a regular place of 
Christian worship. Augustine dedicated the place to St 
Pancras, and it became the Church of St Pancras, of which 

* Neither Bede (79) nor Thorn (1759) fashion, that the Swale mentioned by 
says a word of the scene of the baptism. Gocclin {Acta Sanct., p. 390), Gcrvaso 
But Gocclin {Acta Sanct., t,Z2) speaks {Act. Pont. 1S51), and Camden (p. 136), 
distinctly of a "baptistery" or "urn" as cannot be that of Yorkshire. Indeed, 
used. The first mention of the font at Gregory's letter is decisive. The legend 
St. Martin's that I find is in Stukely, p; represents the crowd as miraculously 
117 (in the seventeenth century). delivered from drowning, and the baptism 

* Greg. Epp., vii. 30. as performed by two and two upon each 

* Sft Fuller's Church Hist., ii. ( 7, 9, other at the command, though not by the 
wbert be justly argues, after his quaint Act, of Augustine. 

38 Church of St. Pancras, [597. 

the spot is still indicated by a ruined arch of ancient brick, 
and by the fragment of a wall, still showing the mark," 
where, according to the legend, the old demon who, accord- 
ing to the belief at that time, had hitherto reigned supreme 
in the heathen temple, laid his claws to shake douTi the 
building in which he first heard the celebration of Cliristian 
services and felt that his rule was over. But there is a more 
authentic and instructive interest attaching to that ancient 
ruin, if you ask why it was that it received from Augustine 
the name of St. Pancras ? Two reasons are given. First, 
St. Pancras or Pancrasius was a Roman boy of noble family, 
who was martyred* under Diocletian at the age of fourteen, 
and, being thus regarded as the patron saint of children, 
would naturally be chosen as the patron saint of the first- 
fruits of the nation which was converted out of regard to the 
three English children in the market-place : and, secondly, 
the monastery of St. Andrew on the Ccelian Hill, which 
Gregory had founded, and from which Augustine came, was 
built on the very property which had belonged to the family 
of St. Pancras, and therefore the name of St. Pancras was 
often in Gregory's mouth (one of his sermons was preached 
on St. Pancras' day), and would thus naturally occur to 
Augustine also. That rising ground on which the chapel 
of St Pancras stands, with St. Martin's hill behind, was to 
him a Ccelian Mount in England, and this, of itself, would 
suggest to him the wish, as we shall presently see, to found 
his first monastery as nearly as possible with the same asso- 
ciations as that which he had left behind 

But Ethelbert was not satisfied with establishing those 
places of worship outside the city. Augustine was now 

' The place now pointed out can rently that mentioned by Stukely (p. 117), 

hardly be the same as that indicated by who ^ves a view of the church u then 

Thorn (1760) as "the south wall of the standing. 

church." But every student of local tra- * The Roman Giuix:h of St. Pancnuio, 

diiion knows how easily they are trans- behind the Vatican, (so famous in the 

planted to suit the convenience of their siege of Rome by the French in 1849^ U 

perpetuation. The present nuirk is appa- on the scene of Pancrasius' ouutyrdom. 

697.]" First Cathedral of Canterbury, 39 

formally consecrated as the first Archbishop of Canterbury, 
and Ethelbert determined to give him a dwelling-place and 
a house of prayer within the city also. Buildings of this 
kind were rare in Canterbury, and so the king retired to 
Reculver — built there a new palace out of the ruins of the 
old Roman fortress, and gave up his owti palace and an old 
British or Roman church in its neighbourhood, to be the 
seat of the new archbishop and the foundation of the new 
cathedral If the baptism of Ethelbert may in some mea- 
sure be compared to the baptism of Constantine, so this 
may be compared to that hardly less celebrated act of the 
same Emperor (made up of some truth and more fable) — 
his donation of the " States of the Church," or, at least, of 
the Lateran Palace, to Pope Sylvester ; his own retirement 
to Constantinople in consequence of this resignation. It is 
possible that Ethelbert may have been in some measure 
influenced in his step by what he may have heard of 
this story. His wooden palase was to him what the 
Lateran was to Constantine j Augustine was his Sylvester ; 
Reculver was his B}'zantium. At any rate, this grant of 
house and land to Augustine was a step of immense 
importance not only in English but European history, 
because it was the first instance in England, or in any of 
the countries occupied by the barbarian tribes, of an 
endowTnent by the State. As St. Martin's and St Pancras' 
witnessed the first beginning of English Cliristianity, so 
Canterbury Cathedral is the earliest monument of an 
English Church Establishment — of the English constitution 
of the union of Church and State. ^ Of the actual building 
of this first Cathedral, nothing now remains ; yet there is 
much, even now, to remind us of it First there is the 
venerable chair, in which, for so many generations, the 

* That the parallel of Constantine was Augustine to Sylvester, but from th« 

present to the minds of those concerned appellation of " Hcllcna" given by Gre- 

U evident, not merely from the express gory to Bertha, or (as h« calls her) Edil* 

cooipanson by Gocelia (^c/a 5an^/., p. burga. — £pp., ix. 6o« 
^83), of Etltelbert to Coastaatiae, and 

40 First Cathedral of Canterbury, [697. 

primates of England have been enthroned, and which, 
though probably of a later date, may yet rightly be called 
*' St Augustine's Chair;"' for, though not the very one in 
which he sate, it no doubt represents the ancient episcopal 
throne, in which, after the fashion of the bishops of that 
time, he sate behind the altar (for that was its proper place, 
and there, as is well known, it once stood), with all his 
clergy round him, as may still be seen in several ancient 
churches abroad Next, there is the name of the cathedral. 
It was then, as it is still, properly, called " Christ Church," 
or ** the Church of our Saviour." We can hardly doubt 
that this is a direct memorial of the first landing of 
Augustine, when he first announced to the pagan Saxons 
the faith and name of Christ, and spread out before their 
eyes, on the shore of Ebbe's Fleet, the rude painting on 
the large board, which we are emphatically told, repre- 
sented to them ** Christ our Saviour." And, thirdly, there 
is the curious fact, that the old church, whether as found, 
or as restored by Augustine, was in many of its features 
an exact likeness of the old St. Peter's at Rome — doubt- 
less from his recollection of that ancient edifice in what 
may be called his o^vn cathedral city in Italy. In it, as 
in St Peter's,' the altar was originally at the west end. 
Like St Peter's it contained a crypt made in imitation of 
the ancient catacombs, in which the bones of the apostles 
were originally found; and this was the first beginning of 
the crf\)i which still exists, and which is so remarkable a 
part of tlie present cathedral. Lastly, then, as now, the 
chief entrance into the cathedral was through the south 
door,3 which is a practice derived, not from the Roman, 
but from the British times, and therefore from the ruined 
British church which Augustine first received from Ethelbert 
It is so still in the remains of the old British churches which 

* The arguments apainst the antiquity one piece of »{one, the present Uof thre«. 
of the chair arc : i. That it is of Purbcck • Willis's Canterbury Cathedral, pp. 

marble, a. That the old throne was of ao-^^. * Jbid., p. ii. 

597.] Monastery and Library of St, Attgiistine. 41 

are preser/ed in Cornwall and Scotland, and I mention it 
here because it is perhaps the only point in the whole 
cathedral which reminds us of that earlier British Christianity, 
which had almost died away before Augustine came. 

Finally, in the neighbourhood of the Church of St. Pan- 
eras, where he had first begun to perform Christian service, 
Ethelbert granted to Augustine the ground on which was 
to be built the monastery that afterwards grew up into the 
great abbey called by his name. It was, in the first in- 
stance, called the Abbey of St. Peter and St Paul, after the 
two apostles of the city of Rome, from which Augustine and 
his companions had come, and though in after times it was 
chiefly known by the name of its founder Augustine, yet its 
earlier appellation was evidently intended to carry back the 
thoughts of those who first settled within its walls far over 
the sea, to the great churches which stood by the banks 
of the Tiber, over the graves of the two apostles. This 
monastery was designed chiefly for two purposes. One 
object was, that the new clergy of the Christian mission might 
be devoted to study and learning. And it may be interest- 
ing to remember here, that ot this original intention of the 
monastery, two reHcs possibly exist, although not at Canter- 
bury. In the library of Corpus Christi College at Cambridge, 
and in the Bodleian library at Oxford, two ancient MS. Gos- 
pels still exist, which have at least a fair claim to be con- 
sidered the very books which Gregory sent to Augustine as 
marks of his good wishes to the rising monastery, when 
LawTcnce and Peter returned from Britain to Rome, to tell 
him the success of their mission, and from him brought 
back these presents. They are, if so, the most ancient 
books that ever were read in England ; as the Church of St. 
Martin is the mother-church, and the Cathedral of Canter- 
bury the mother-cathedral of England, so these books are, 
if I may so call them, the mother-books of England — the 
first beginning of English literature, of English learning, of 
English education. And St. Augustine's Abbey was thus 

42 Burial-ground of St, Augiistims Abbey, [597. 

the mother-school, the mother-university of England, the 
seat of letters and study, at a time when Cambridge was a 
desolate fen, and Oxford a tangled forest in a wide waste of 
waters.' They remind us that English power and English 
religion have, as from the very first, so ever since, gone 
along with knowledge, with learning, and especially with 
that knowledge and that learning which those two old 
manuscripts give — the knowledge and learning of the 

This was one intention of St. Augustine's monastery. 
The other is remarkable, as explaining the situation of the 
Abbey. It might be asked why so important an edifice, 
constructed for study and security, should have been built 
outside the city walls ? One reason, as I have said, may 
have been to fix it as near as possible to the old church of 
St. Pancras. But there was another and more instructive 
cause : Augustine desired to have in this land of strangers a 
spot of consecrated ground where his bones should repose 
after death. But in the same way as the Abbey Church of 
Glastonbury in like manner almost adjoins to the Chapel 
of St Joseph of Arimathea, such a place, according to the 
usages which he brought with him from Rome, he could not 
have within the walls of Canterbury. In all ancient countries 
the great cemeteries were always outside the towTi, along the 
sides of the great highways by which it was approached. 
In Jewish as well as in Roman history, only persons of the 
very highest importance were allowed what we now call 
intra-mural interment So it was here. Augustine the 
Roman fixed his burial-place by the side of the great Roman 
road which then ran from Richborough to Canterbury over 

* A M8. history of the foundation of three exceptions,— a Bible which, how- 

St. Augustine's Abbey (in the library of ever, has never been heard of since 1604, 

Trinity Hall, Cambridge, to which it was and the two MSS. Gospels still shown at 

given by one into whose hands it fell Corpus, Cambridge, and in the Bodleian 

at the time of the Dissolution) contains ut O.xlord. The arguments for their 

an account of eight MSS., said to be pcnuinenesa are stated by Wanley, In 

those sent over by Gregory. Of these Hickes' Thesaurus [ii. pp. 179, 173). 
all have long since di^ppeared, with 

697.] Fotmdatio7i of the Sees of Rochester & London. 43 

St Martin's hill, and entering the town by the gateway which 
still marks the course of the old road.' The cemeter}' of St. 
Augustine was an English Appian Way, as the church of 
St. Pancras was an English Cselian Hill \ and this is the 
reason why St. Augustine's Abbey, instead of the Cathedral, 
has enjoyed the honour of bur^-ing the last remains of the 
first primate of the English Church, and of the first king of 
Christian England. 

For now we have arrived at the end of their career. 
Nothing of importance is knowTi of Augustine in connection 
with Canterbury, beyond what has been said above. We 
know that he penetrated as far west as the banks of the 
Severn, on his important mission to the Welsh Christians, 
and it would also seem that he must* have gone into Dorset- 
shire ; but these would lead us into regions and topics remote 
from our present subject 

His last act at Canterbury, of which we can speak with 
certainty, was his consecration of two monks who had been 
sent out after him by Gregory to two new sees — two new 
steps further into the country, still under the shelter of 
Ethelbert Justus became Bishop of Rochester, and Mellitus 
Bishop of London. And still the same Association of names 
which we have seen at Canterbury was continued. The 
memory of ^^ St. Andrew's Convent" on the Cselian Hill 
was perpetuated in the Cathedral Church of St Andrew on 
the banks of the Medway. The names of St. Peter and St. 
Paul^ which had been combined in the Abbey at Canterbury, 
were preserved apart in St Peter's at Westminster and St 
Paul's in London which thus represent the great Roman 
Basilicas, on the banks of the Thames. How like the in- 
stinct with which the colonists of the New World reproduced 

' Bede, I. 33, } 79. Gostling:'s Walk, Acta Sanctorum, p. 391. The story ot 

p. 44. "A common footway lay through his journey into Yorkshire has probably 

It, even till memory." arisen from the mistake, before noticed, 

respecting the Swale. The whole qucs- 

■ See the account of his conference tion of his miracles, and of the legendary 

with the Welsh, in Eede ; the stories of portions of his life, is too long to be div 

his adventures in Dorsetshire, in the cussed in this place. 

44 Death of Augustine, [607. 

the nomenclature of Christian and civilised Europe, was this 
practice of recalling in remote and barbarous Britain the 
fiimiliar scenes of Christian and civilised Italy 1 

It was believed that Augustine expired on the 26th of 
May, 605,^ his patron and benefactor, Gregory the Great, 
havijig died on the 12 th of March of the previous year, and 
he was interred,* according to the custom of which I have 
spoken, by the road-side in the ground now occupied by the 
Kent and Canterbury Hospital. The Abbey which he had 
founded was not yet finished, but he had just lived to see 
its foundation. 3 Ethelbert came from Reculver to Canter- 
bury, a few months before Augustine's death, to witness the 
ceremony, and the monks were settled there under Peter, 
the first companion of Augustine, as their head. Peter did 
not long survive his master. He was lost, it is said, in a 
storm off the coast of France, two years afterwards, and his 
remains were interred in the Church of SL Mary at Boulogne.* 
Bertha and her chaplain also died about the same time, and 
were buried beside Augustine. There now remained of 
those who had first met in the Isle of Thanet ten years 
before, only Ethelbert himself, and La\\Tence, who had been 
consecrated Archbishop by Augustine himself before his 
death, an unusual and almost unprecedented step,s but one 
which it was thought the unsettled state of the newly-con- 
verted country demanded. Once more Ethelbert and Law- 
rence met, in the year 613, eight years after Augustine's 
death, for the consecration of the Abbey Church, on the site 
of which there rose in after times the noble structure whose 
ruins still remain, preserving in the fragments of its huge 
western tower, even to our o\mi time, the name of Ethelbert 
Then the bones ^ of Augustine were removed from their 

• Thorn (1765) glvci the year, Bcde * Tliorn, 1766. 

(ii. 3, 5 96) the day. * Thorn, 1765 ; Bcde, H. 4, \ 97. 

■ Thorn, 1767. • Thorn, 1767. The statement in 

■ Thorn, 1761. Chnstm.n. a.d. 605, Butler's " Lives of the Saints " (May a6) 
was, according to our reckoning, on Is a series of mistakes. 

Christmas, 604. 

From Trinity Chapel. 

Pavement round Becket's Shrine. 

From Tiiiiity Cliapel. 
rrr.E PAViNr,. 

iTo/ace f>. -M- 


A South I'orch and Duvstan Tower. 

H yarth-uetc Totvti: 

(' yaV: 

1) ycrth-uest TraiitCjit (or Ticuffjt 

of thi' Alarlyrdum). 
K Dein's or l.adij'chai>tl. 
F Ifoor into < loiglirs. 
(t Sout/i-Htst 'J'ransvpt. 
H .s7. Michael's or Uit Warrior't 


I Choir. 

J yoith Cho'v-aisU. 

K South Choir-dish. 

L \j Aotterii Transepts. 

M St. Aiidrfii''s Toutr. 

N St. Anitlm'.s Toutr. 

() Trinity cnajtl. 

r J/enri/ the J-ouvth's Chantry. 

(•l Contna. 

\\ I'assai/e to Crypt. 

1 Site of St. Dunstan's Shrivf. 

2 .\onHan nail maikivg the fpot 

nhtre Ikikctjill. 

3 .Motnimtnt oj ArcJibishop I'tckhnm 

4 Monumtiit tif Archbii^hop W'niham 

5 Moil umtnt of Arcl>b< shop chirhelf. 
C Ml nnmiht of ArchOish"p Uxiir- 

7 I'osition of liick'l's Shrine. 
H .Munumeiit of the /ilack I'rince. 
9 .Moil nine it of Kitiif tl'ivi/ IV. 
lU Monnmmt of Archbishop ( ourte- 


II .youinntiit of Cardinal Chalillion 
I'J Monmnei't of I'tan WHttuv. 

\.\ .Monnnietit of < arUint.l I'ole. 
J 4 I iihiioirn tomb. 

15 .Uounmcut of Archbishop Simon 

of Mcpham. 

16 Ti'iiih of Archbishiip Ausehn. 

17 M'liiiment of Archbisho]> Simon of 

l.H. .Monument of Archbishop Strut- 

19 Monument if Ai-rhbiihop A»»ij». 

20 Site of Archbishop Wiudielsta's 


21 Mori unit tit of Archbishop Hubert 

2'J Monument of Archbishop Waller 

23 .Monument of Margaret Holland 

and h'-r tuo hu.^lniuds. 
21 .Motiumtfit of Archbtfhnp Stephen 



Bcalo 100 (t to I iocb 

IToJacc />. 45. 

613.] Reailver, 45 

resting-place by the Roman road, to be deposited in the 
north transept of the church , where they remained, till in 
the twelfth century they were moved again, and placed 
under the high altar at the east end. Then also the remains 
of Bertha and of Luidhard were brought within the same 
church, and laid in the transept or apse dedicated to St. 
Martin;' thus still keeping up the recollection of their 
original connection with the old French saint, and the little 
chapel where they had so often worshipped on the hill 
above — Luidhard' on the north, and Bertha on the south 
side of the altar. 

Three years longer Ethelbert reigned. He lived, as has 
been already said, no longer at Canterbury, but in the new 
palace which he had built for himself within the strong 
Roman fortress of Reculver, at the north-western end of the 
estuary of the Isle of Thanet, though in a different manner. 
The whole aspect of the place is even more altered than 
that of its corresponding fortress of Richborough, at the 
other extremity. The sea, which was then a mile or more 
from Reculver, has now advanced up to the very edge of 
the cliff on which it stands, and swept the northern wall 
of the massive fortress into the waves ; but the three other 
sides, overgrown with ivy and elder bushes, still remain with 
the strong masonry which Ethelbert must have seen and 
handled ; and within the enclosure stand the venerable ruins 
of the church with its two towers, which afterwards rose on 
the site of Ethelbert's palace. 

* The mention of this apse, or "per- which Is there set up would hardly be 

ricus " of St. Martin, has led to the mis- contradicted. 

take, which from Fuller's time (ii. 7, $ 32) • I-uidhard Is so mere a shadow, that 

has fixed the grave of Eertha in the It is hardly worth while collecting what 

Church of St. Martin's on the hill. But is known or said of him. His name is 

the elegant Latin inscription, which the variously spelt Lethard, Ledvard, and 

excellent rector of St. Martin's has Luidhard. His French Eishopric is vari- 

caused to be placed over the rude stone ously represented to be Soissons or Senlis. 

tomb, which p>opularly bears her name, His tomb in the abbey was long known, 

in his beautiful church, is so cautiously and his relics were carried round Canter- 

▼orded that, even if she were buried bury in a gold chest on the Rogation 

much further off than sht b, the claim Days. [Ada Sanct., Feb 24, pp. 463,470.) 


46 Death of Ethdhert. [61 6w 

This wild spot is the scene which most closely connects 
itself with the remembrance of that good Saxon king, and 
it long disputed with St Augustine's Abbey tlie honour of 
his burial-place. Even down to the time of King James I., 
a monument was to be seen in the South transept of the 
church of Reculver, professing to cover his remains,* and 
down to our own time, I am told, a board was affixed to the 
wall with the inscription " Here lies Ethelbert, Kentish 
king whilom." This, however, may have been Ethelbert II., 
and all authority leans to the story that, after a long reign 
of forty-eight years (dying on the 24th of February, 616), he 
was laid side by side with his first wife Bertha," on the south 
side of St Martin's altar in the Church of St Augustine,^ and 
there, somewhere in the field around the ruins of the Abbey, 
his bones, with those of Bertha and Augustine,* probably 
still repose and may possibly be discovered 

These are all the direct traces which Augustine and 
Ethelbert have left amongst us. Viewed in this light they 
will become so many finger-posts, pointing your thoughts 
along various roads, to times and countries far away — always 

* Weever, Funeral monuments, 260. nected with the traditional description of 

• That he had a second wife appears the three children at Rome ? 

from the allusion to her in the story of There was a sUtut of Ethelbert In 

his son EadbaM (Bcde, ii. S loa), but her the south chapel or aj>se of St. Parcrai 

name is never mentioned. (Thorn, 1^77), long since destroyed- But 

• Thorn, 1767 ; Bede, iL 19 100, loi. in the screen of the Cathedral choir, of 

* In the Acta Sanctorum for Feb. the fifteenth century, he may still be seen 
t4 (p. 478), a strange ghost-story is told as the founder of the Cathedral, with the 
of F.thelbert's tomb, not without interest model of the church in his hand. He 
from its connection with the previous his- was canonised ; but probably as a saint 
tory. The priest who had the charge of he was less popularly known than St. 
the tomb had neglected it. One night, Ethelbert of Hereford, with whom he is 
as he was in the chapel, there suddenly sometimes confused. 

Issued from the tomb, in a blaze of light His epitaph was a ccrioui insLince of 

which filled the whole apse, the figure of rhyming Latinity :— 

a boy, with a torch In his hand : long 

golden hair flowed round his shoulders ; Rex Ethelbertus hie dauditur in poly* 

his face was as white as snow : his eyes andro, 

shone like stars. He rebuked the priest Fana pians, ChristO meat absque mean- 

and retired into his tomb. Is it possible dro.^ 

that th« story of tliis apparition was con- (Speed, 1x5) 

616.] Primacy of Canterbury, 47 

useful and pleasant in this busy world in which we live. 
But in that busy world itself they have left traces also, which 
we shall do well briefly to consider before we bid farewell to 
that ancient Roman Prelate and that ancient Saxon Chief. 
I do not now speak of the one great change of our conver- 
sion to Christianity, which is too extensive and too serious a 
subject to be treated of on the present occasion. But the 
particular manner in which Christianity was thus planted is 
in so many ways best understood by going back to that 
time, that I shall not scruple to call your attention to it. 

First, the arrival of Augustine explains to us at once why 
the primate of this great Church — the first subject of this 
great empire, should be Archbishop, not of London, but of 
Canterbury. It had been Gregory's intention to have fixed 
the primacy in London and York alternately, but the local 
feelings which grew out of Augustine's landing in Kent were 
too strong for him, and they have prevailed to this day.* 
Humble as Canterbury may now be, " Kent itself but a 
comer of England, and Canterbury seated in a comer of that 
comer,"' yet so long as an Archbishop of Canterbury exists 
— so long as the Church of England exists, Canterbury can 
never forget that it had the glory of being the cradle of English 
Christianity. And that glory it had in consequence of a 
few simple causes, far back in the mist of ages — the shore 
between the cliffs of Ramsgate and of the South Foreland, 
which made the shores of Kent the most convenient landing- 
place for the Italian missionaries ; — the marriage of the wild 
Saxon king of Kent with a Christian princess; — and the 
good English common sense of Ethelbert when the happy 
occasion arrived. 

' Grej. Epp., xii. 15. Gerrase {Ada Pope, "licet Sanctl Spiritus sacrarlum 
PfHt., pp. 1 1 31, 1 1 32) thinking that by essct," yet had fallen into tlie error ol 
thii letter the Pope established three supposing each of the cities to be cqui- 
primacies, one at London, one at Canter- distant from the other, 
bury, and one at York, needlessly per- 
plexes himself to reconcile such a distri- " Fuller (Church History, Book ii. I viii. 
bution with the geography of Britain, 4) in speaking of the temporary trans- 
anal arrivei at the concluiion that the fcrcncc of the primacy to Lithficld. 

48 Extent of English Dioceses, [615. 

Secondly, we may see in the present constitution of 
Church and State in England, what are far more truly the 
footmarks of Gregory and Augustine, than that fictitious 
footmark which he was said to have left at Ebbe's Fleet. 

There are letters from Gregory to Augustine, which give 
him excellent advice for his missionary course — advice which 
all missionaries would do well to consider, and of which the 
effects are to this day visible amongst us. Let me mention 
two or tliree of these points. The first, perhaps, is more 
curious than generally interesting. Any of you who have 
ever read or seen the state of foreign Churches and countries, 
may have been struck by one great difference, which I 
believe distinguishes England from all other Churches in the 
world ; and that is, the great size of its dioceses. In foreign 
countries, you will generally find a bishop's see in every 
large to^vn, so that he is, in fact, more like a clergyman of a 
large parish than what we call the bishop of a diocese. It 
is a very important characteristic of the English Church 
that the opposite should be the case with us. In some re- 
spects it has been a great disadvantage ; in other respects, I 
believe, a great advantage. The formation of the English 
sees was very gradual, and the completion of the number of 
twenty-four did not take place till the reign of Henry VIII. 
But it is curious that this should have been precisely the 
same number fixed in Gregory's instructions to Augustine ; 
and, at any rate, the great size of the dioceses was in con- 
formity with his suggestions. Britain, as I have said several 
times, was to him almost an unknown island. Probably he 
thought it might be about the size of Sicily or Sardinia, the 
only large islands he had ever seen, and that twenty-four 
bishoprics would be sufficient At any rate, so he divided, 
and so, with the variation of giving only four, instead ot 
twelve, to the province of York, it was, consciously or uncon- 
sciously, followed out in after times. The kings of the 
various kingdoms seem to have encouraged the practice, 
each making the bishopric co-extensive with his king- 

616.] Toleration of Christian Diversities^ 49 

dom ; * so that the bishop of the diocese was also chief pastor 
of the tribe, succeeding in all probability to the post which 
the chaplain or high-priest of the king had held in the days 
of paganism. And it may be remarked, that whether from 
an imitation of England, or from a similarity of circum- 
stances, the sees of Germany ^ (in this respect an exception 
to the usual practice of continental Europe) and of Scotland 
are of great extent. 

But further, Gregory gave directions as to the two points 
which probably most perplex missionaries, and which at 
once beset Augustine. The first concerned his dealings with 
other Christian communities. Augustine had passed through 
France, and saw there customs very different from what he 
had seen in Rome ; and he was now come to Britain, where 
there were still remnants of the old British Churches, with 
customs very different from what he had seen either in 
France or Rome. What was he to do ? The answer of 
Gregory was, that whatever custom he found really good and 
pleasing to God, whether in the Church of Italy, or of 
France, or any other, he was to adopt it, and use it in his 
new Church of England. *' Things" he says, ^* are not to be 
loved for the sake of pi aces y but places for the sake of things.^* 3 

It was indeed a truly wise and liberal maxim : — one 
which would have healed many feuds, one which perhaps 
Augustine himself might have followed more than he did. 
It would be too much to say, that the effect of this advice 
has reached to our own time ; but it often happens that the 
first turn given to the spirit of an institution lasts long after 
its first founder has passed away, and in channels quite 
different from those which he contemplated j and when we 
think what the Church of England is now, I confess there is 
a satisfaction in thinking, that at least in this respect it has 
in some measure fulfilled the wishes of Gregory the Great 

' Set Kemlle's "Saxons," book ii. • Germany was, it should be rcmem- 
e, 8. bered, converted by Englibliinen. 

' Bede, t. 37, § 60. 

50 Toleration of Heathen Customs, [gi6. 

There is no Church in the world which has combined such 
opposite and various advantages from other Churches more 
exclusive than itself, — none in wliich various characters and 
customs from the opposite parts of the Christian world, 
could have been able to find such shelter and refuge. 

Another point was, how to deal with the pagan customs 
and ceremonies which already existed in the Anglo-Saxon 
kingdom. Were they to be entirely destroyed? — or were 
they to be tolerated so far as was not absolutely incompatible 
with the Christian religion ? And here again Gregory gave 
to Augustine the advice which, certainly as far as we could 
judge, St Paul would have given, and which in spirit at least 
is an example always. ** He had thought much on the sub- 
ject," he says, and he came to the conclusion that heathen 
temples were not to be destroyed, but turned whenever 
possible into Christian churches,^ — that the droves ot oxen 
which used to be killed in sacrifice were still to be killed for 
feasts for the poor ; and that the huts which tliey used to 
make of boughs of trees round the temples, were still to be 
used for amusements on Cliristian festivals. And he gives 
as the reason for this, tliat "y^r hard and rough minds it is 
impossible to cut away abruptly all their old customs^ because 
he who wishes to reach the higliest place^ must ascend by steps 
and not by jumps "^ 

How this was followed out in England is evident In 
Canterbury, we have already seen how the old heathen 
temple of Ethelbert was turned into the Church of St Pan- 
eras. In the same manner, the sites granted by Ethelbert 
for St Paul's in London, and St Peter's in Westminster, 
were both originally places of heathen worship. I'his 

* To Ethen)ert he had expressed him- barbarian king ; while It pennltte'l th« 

self, apparently in an earlier letter, more milder or more winning course to the 

strongly against the temples.— (Bede, i. clergy, the protection of the hallowed 

32, ( 76.) " Was it settled policy," asks places and images of the heathen from 

Dean Milman, "or mature reflection, insult by consecrating them to holier 

which led the Pope to devolve the more uses? "- (HisL of Latin Christianity, U. 

odious duty of the total abolition of 59.) 

Idolatry on the temporal power— the * Bede, L 30, 74. 

616.J Toleration of Heathen Customs. 51 

appropriation of heathen buildings is the more remarkable, 
inasmuch as it had hitherto been very unusual in Western 
Christendom. In Egypt, indeed, the temples were usually 
converted into Christian churches, and the intermixture of 
Coptic saints with Egyptian gods is one of the strangest 
sights that the traveller sees in the monuments of that 
strange land. In Greece also, the Parthenon and the temple 
of Theseus are well-known instances. But in Rome it was 
very rare. The Pantheon, now dedicated to All Saints, is 
almost the only example ; and this dedication itself took 
place four years after Gregory's death, and probably in 
consequence of his known views. The fragment of the 
Church of St Pancras — the nucleus, as we have seen, of St 
Augustine's Abbey — thus becomes a witness to an important 
principle ; and the legend of the Devil's claw reads us the 
true lesson, that the evil spirit can be cast out of institutions 
without destroying them. Gregory's advice is, indeed, but 
the counterpart of John Wesley's celebrated saying about 
church music, that **it was a great pity the Devil should 
have all the best tunes to himself;" and the principle which 
it involved, coming from one in his commanding position, 
probably struck root far and wide, not only in England, but 
throughout Western Christendom. One familiar instance is 
to be found in the toleration of the heathen names of the 
days of the weeks. Every one of these is called, as we all 
know, after the name of some Saxon god or goddess, whom 
Ethelbert worshipped in the days of his paganism. Through 
all the changes of Saxon and Norman, Roman Catholic and 
Protestant, these names have survived, but, most striking of 
all, through the great change from heathenism to Christi- 
anity.* They have survived, and rightly, because there is no 
harm in their intention ; and if there is no harm, it is a clear 
gain to keep up old names and customs, when their evil in- 
tention is passed away. They, like the ruin of St Pancras, 

' See a full and most interesting dis- then names of the week days, In Grimm'a 
ctiSMOD of the whole subject of the hea- " Deutsche Mythologie," toI. i. xii-x3& 

52 Great Results from Small Beginjiings, [ciO. 

are standing witnesses of Gregory's wisdom and moderation 
— standing examples to us that Christianity does not require 
us to trample on the customs even of a heathen world, if 
we can divest them of their mischief. 

Lastly, the mission of Augustine is one of the most 
striking instances in all history of the vast results which 
may flow from a very small beginning — of the immense 
effects produced by a single thought in the heart of a single 
man, carried out consistently, deliberately, and fearlessly. 
Nothing in itself could seem more trivial than the meeting 
of Gregory w^ith the three Yorkshire slaves in the market- 
place at Rome, yet this roused a feeling in his mind which 
he never lost ; and through all the obstacles which were 
thro\vn first in his own way, and then in the way of Augus- 
tine, his highest desire concerning it was more than realised. 
And this was even the more remarkable when we remember 
who and what his instruments were. You may have ob- 
served that I have said little of Augustine himself, and that 
for two reasons : first, because so little is kno\NTi of him ; 
secondly, because I must confess, that what little is told of 
him leaves an unfavourable impression behind. We cannot 
doubt that he was an active, self-denying man — his coming 
here through so many dangers of sea and land proves it — 
and it would be ungrateful and ungenerous not to acknow- 
ledge how much we owe to him. But still almost every 
personal trait which is recorded of him shows us that he 
was not a man of any great elevation of character — that 
he was often thinking of himself, or of his order, when we 
should have wished him to be thinking of the great cause 
he had in hand. We see this in his drawing back from his 
journey in France ; we see it in the additional power which 
he claimed from Gregory over his own companions ; we 
see it in the warnings sent to him by Gregory, that he was 
not to be pufled up by the wonders he had wrought in 
Britain ; we see it in the haughty severity ^N-ith which he 
treated the remnant of British Chnstians in Wales, not 

616.] Great Results from Small Beginnings, 53 

rising when they approached, and uttering that malediction 
against them, which sanctioned, if it did not instigate, their 
massacre by the Saxons; we see it in the legends which 
grew up after his death, telling us how, because the people 
of Stroud insulted him by fastening a fish-tail to his back,' 
he cursed them, and brought down on the whole population 
the curse of being bom with tails. 

I mention all this, not to disparage our great benefactor 
and first archbishop, but partly because we ought to have 
our eyes open to the truth even about our best friends, 
partly to show what I have said before, from what small 
beginnings and through what weak instruments Gregory 
accomplished his mighty work. It would have been a 
mighty work, even if it had been no more than Gregory 
and Augustine themselves imagined. They thought, no 
doubt, of the Anglo-Saxon conversion, as we might think of 
the conversion of barbarous tribes in India or Africa — 
numerous and powerful themselves, but with no great future 
results. How far beyond their widest vision that conversion 
has reached, may best be seen at Canterbury. 

Let any one sit on the hill of the little church of St 
Martin, and look on the view which is there spread before 
his eyes. Immediately below are the towers of the great 
Abbey of St. Augustine, where Christian learning and 
civilisation first struck root in the Anglo-Saxon race ; ^ and 
within which now, after a lapse of many centuries, a new 
institution has arisen, intended to carry far and wide to 

* Gocelin notices the offence, without traces of Aii^stine's mission, besides 
expressly stating the punishment (c 41), those which were left at the time. Other- 
and places it in Dorsetshire. The story wise the list would be much enlarged by 
is given in Harris's " Kent,'' 303 ; in the revival of the ancient associations, 
FuUtr's " Church Hist.," ii. 7, 5 22 ; and visilile in St. Augustine's College, in St. 
in Ray's "Proverbs " (p. 233), who men- Gregory's Church and burial-ground, and 
tions it especially as » Kentish story, and In the restored Church of St. Martin: 
as one that was very generally believed where the windows, although of modem 
in his time on the continent. There is a date, are interesting memorials of tha 
long and amusing discussion on the sub- past — especially that vhich represents 
j«ct in Lambard's " Kent," p. 400. the well-known scene of St. Martin 

• I have forborne to dwell on any dividing the cloak. 

C 2 

54 Great Results from Small Beginning's. [ci6. 

countries of which Gregory and Augustine never heard, the 
blessings which they gave to us. Carry your view on, — and 
there rises high above all the magnificent pile of our cathe- 
dral, equal in splendour and state to any, the noblest temple 
or church, that Augustine could have seen in ancient Rome, 
rising on the very ground which derives its consecration from 
him. And still more than the grandeur of the outward build- 
ings that rose from the little church of Augustine and the 
little palace of Ethelbert, have been the institutions of all 
kinds, of which these were the earliest cradle. From 
Canterbury, the first English Christian city — from Kent, 
the first English Christian kingdom — has, by degrees, arisen 
the whole constitution of Church and State in England 
which now binds together the whole British Empire. And 
from the Christianity here established in England has flowed, 
by direct consequence, first, the Christianity of Germany, — 
then, after a long interval, of North America, — and lastly, 
we may trust in time, of all India and all Australasia. The 
view from Sl Martin's Church is indeed one of the most 
inspiriting that can be found in the world ; there is none to 
which I would more willingly take any one who doubted 
whether a small beginning could lead to a great and lasting 
good — none which carries us more vividly back into the 
past, or more hopefully forward to the future. 

Note. — The statements respecting the spot of Augustine's landing 
are so various, that it may be worth while to give briefly the different 
clr.imants, in order to simplify the statement in pp. 29-34. 

1. Ebbe's Fleet. — For this the main reasons are : I. The fact that it 
was the usual landing-place in ancient Thnnct, as is shown by the tradi- 
tion that Ilengist, S. Mildred, and the Danes came there. (Lewis, 
p. 83. Hasted, iv., 2S9). 2. The fact that Bede's whole narrative 
emphatically lands Augustine in Thanct, and not on the mainl.;nd. 
3. The present situation with the local tradition, as described in p. 29. 

2. The spot called the Boarded Groin (Lewis, p. S3), also marked in 
the Ordnance Survey as the landing-place of Uie Saxons. But this must 
then have been covered by the sea. 

3. Stonar, near Sandwich. Sandwich MS., in Boys* Sandwich, 

Isle of Thanet, 55 

p. 836. But this, even if not covered by the sea, must have been a 
mere island. (Hasted, iv., 585). 

4. Richborough. Ibid., p. Z^Z, But this was not in the isle of 
Thanet, and the story is probably founded, partly on Thorn's narra- 
tive (1758), which, by speaking of " Retesburgh, in insula Thaneti^* 
shows that he means the whole port, and partly on its having been 
actually the scene of the final debarkation on the mainland, as described 
in p. 34. 

The Mttrder of Becket. 


The Murder of Beckei, 

T^ VERY one is familiar with the reversal of popular judg* 
-*--' merits respecting individuals or events of our own 
time. It would be an easy, though perhaps an invidious 
task, to point out the changes from obloquy to applause, 
and from applause to obloquy, which the present generation 
has witnessed ; and it would be instructive to examine in 
each case how far these changes have been justified by the 
facts. What thoughtful observers may thus notice in the 
passing opinions of the day, it is the privilege of history to 
track through the course of centuries. Of such vicissitudes 
in the judgment of successive ages, one of the most striking 
is to be found in the conflicting feelings with which different 
epochs have regarded the contest of Becket with Henry II. 
During its continuance, the public opinion of England and 
of Europe was, if not unfavourable to the Archbishop, at 
least strongly divided. After its tragical close, tlie change 
from indifference or hostility to unbounded veneration was 
instantaneous. In certain circles his saintship, and even 
his salvation,^ was questioned : but these were exceptions to 
the general enthusiasm. This veneration, after a duration 
of more than three centuries, was superseded, at least in 
England, by a contempt as general and profound as had 

• 14 RobertS'jn, p. 31a. 

6o Variety of Judgments on ilie EvenU 

been the previous admiratiorL And now, after three cen- 
turies more, the revolution of the wheel of fortune has again 
brought up, both at home and abroad, worshippers of the 
memory of St. Thomas of Canterbury, who rival the most 
undoubting devotee that ever knelt at his shrine in the reign 
of the Plantagenet kings. Indications ' are not wanting 
that the pendulum which has been so violently swung to 
and fro, is at last about to settle into its proper place ; and 
we may trust that on this, as on many other controverted 
historical points, a judgment will be pronounced in our own 
times, which, if not irreversible, is less likely to be reversed 
than those which have gone before. But it may contribute 
to the decision upon the merits of the general question if a 
complete picture is presented of the passage of his career 
which has left by far the most indelible impression, — its ter- 
rible close. And even though the famous catastrophe had 
not turned the course of events for generations to come, 
and exercised an influence which is not yet fully exhausted, 
it would still deserve to be minutely described, from its inti- 
mate connection with the stateliest of English cathedrals, 
and with the first great poem of the English language. 

The labour of Dr. Giles has collected no less than nine- 
teen biographies, or fragments of biographies, all of which 
appear to have been written within fifty years of the murder, 
and some of which are confined to that single subject* To 
these we must add the French biography in verse 3 by 

* The Rev. J. C. Robertson, since In the "History of England," by Dr. Pauli, 
Canon of Canterbury, was the first to whose kindness I have been also much 
author who, in two articles in the " Eng- indebted for some of the sources of the 
lish Review" of 1846, took a detailed and " martyrdom." An interesting account of 
impartial survey of the whole struggle. Bcckct's death is affixed to the collection 
To these articles I have to acknowledge a of his letters published in the " Remains ol 
special obligation, as having first intro- the late Mr. Froude." But that account, 
duced me to the copious materials from itself pervaded by a one-sided view, is 
which this account is derived. This sum- almost exclusively drawn from a single 
mary has since been e.xp)anded into a full source, the narrative of Fitzstephen. 
biography. A shorter view of the struggle * Vitx et F-pistola S. Thoma Can- 
may be seen in the narrative given by the tuariensis, cd. Giles. 8 volumes. 
Dean of St. Paul's, in the third volume of * Part of the poem was published by 
*' The History of Latin Christianity," and Emmanuel Bckker, in the Berlin Trans* 

Sources of Information^ 6 1 

Guems, or Gamier, of Pont S. Maxence, which was com- 
posed only five years after the event — the more interesting 
from being the sole record which gives the words of the 
actors in the language in which they spoke ; and, although 
somewhat later, that by Robert of Gloucester in the 13th/ 
and by Grandison Bishop of Exeter in the 14th century.* 
We must also include the contemporary or nearly con- 
temporary chroniclers — Gervase, Diceto, Hoveden, and 
Giraldus Cambrensis, and the fragment from the Lansdo\\Tie 
MS. edited by Canon Robertson ; 3 and, in the next century, 
Matthew Paris and Brompton. 

Of these thirty narrators, four — Edward Grim, William 

Fitzstephen, John of Salisbury (who unfortunately supplies 

but little), and the anonjrmous author of the Lambeth 

MS. — claim to have been eye-witnesses. Three others 

— William of Canterbury,^ Benedict, afterwards abbot of 

Peterborough, and Gervase of Canterbury — were monks of 

the convent, and, though not present at the massacre, were 

probably somewhere in the precincts. Herbert of Bosham, 

Roger of Pontigny, and Garnier, though not in England at 

the time, had been on terms of intercourse more or less 

intimate with Becket, and the two latter especially seem to 

have taken the utmost pains to ascertain the truth of the 

facts they relate. From these several accounts we can 

recover the particulars of the death of Archbishop Becket 

to the minutest details. It is true that, being written by 

monastic or clerical historians after the national feeling had 

been roused to enthusiasm in his behalf, allowance must be 

made for exaggeration, suppression, and every kind of false 

colouring which could set off their hero to advantage. It is 

actions, 1838, pt. 2, pp. 25-168, from % Percy Society, and edited by Mr. Black, 

fragment in the Wolfenbuttel MSS., and " Grandison's Life exists only in MS. 

the whole has since appeared in the same The copy which I have used b In th« 

Transactions, 1844, from a MS. in the Bodleian Library. {MS. 493.) 

British Museum. It was also published * Archa-ologia Cantiana, vii. 210. 

in Paris, by Lc Roux de Lancy in 1843. * A complete MS. of of Canter- 

* This metrical Life and Martyrdom bury has been found by Mr. Robertson it 

•f S. Thomas (composed in the reign of Winchester, of which parts are published 

Henry IIL) has been printed for the In the Archxologia Cantiana, vol. vL 4. 

62 Return of Becket from France. [1170. 

true, also, that on some few points the various authorities 
are hopelessly irreconcilable. But still a careful comparison 
of the narrators with each other, and with the localities, 
leads to a conviction that on the whole the facts have been 
substantially preserved, and that, as often happens, the truth 
can be ascertained in spite, and even in consequence, of 
attempts to distort and suppress it. Accordingly, few oc- 
currences in the middle ages have been so graphically and 
copiously described, and few give such an insight into the 
manners and customs, the thoughts and feelings, not only 
of the man himself, but of the entire age, as the eventful 
tragedy, known successively as the " martyrdom," the " acci- 
dental death," the " righteous execution," and the " murder 
of Thomas Becket." 

The year 11 70 witnessed the termination of the struggle 
of eight years between the king and the Archbishop ; in 
July the final reconciliation had been effected with Henry 
in France ; in the beginning of December Becket had landed 
at Sandwich ' — the port of the Archbishops of Canterbury 
— and thence entered the metropolitical city, after an 
absence of six years, amidst the acclamations of the people. 
The cathedral was hung with silken drapery ; magnificent 
banquets were prepared ; the churches resounded with 
organs and bells ; the palace-hall with trumpets ; and the 
Archbishop preached in the chapter-house on the text 
** Here we have no abiding city, but we seek one to come."' 
Great difficulties, however, still remained. In addition to 
the general question of the immunities of the clergy from 
secular jurisdiction, which was the original point in dispute 
between the King and Archbishop, another had arisen 
within this very year, of much less importance in itself, but 
which now threw the earlier controversy into the shade,^ and 
eventually brought about the final catastrophe. In the pre- 
ceding June Henry, with the view of consolidating his power 
in England, had caused his eldest son to be crowned King, 

> Carnier, 59, 9. * Fiustephen. ed. Giles, L sSj. * Giles, Epp., I. 65. 


Coronation of Henry III, 


not merely as his successor, but as his colleague ; insomuch 
that by contemporary cluroniclers he is always called *' the 
young King," sometimes even "Henry III."' In the ab- 
sence of tlie Archbishop of Canterbury the ceremony of 
coronation was performed by Roger of Bishop's Bridge, 
Archbishop of York, assisted by Gilbert Foliot and Jocelyn 
the Lombard, Bishops of London . and of Salisbury, under 
(what was at least believed to be) the sanction of a Papal 
brief.* The moment the intelligence was communicated to 
Becket, who was then in France, a new blow seemed to be 
struck at his rights ; but this time it was not the privileges 
of his order, but of his office, that were attacked. The 
inalienable right 3 of crowning the sovereigns of England, 

* Hence, perhaps, the precision with 
which the number " III." is added (for 
the firit time) on the coins of Henry HI. 

* See Milman's " Hist, of Latin Chris- 
tianity,'* ill. 510, 511. 

* This contest with Becket for the 
privileges ©f the see of York, though the 
most important, was not the only one 
which Archbishop Roger sustained. At 
the court of Northampton their crosses 
had already confronted each other, like 
hostile spears. — Fitzstephen, 226. It was 
a standing question between the two Arch- 
bishops, and Roger continued to maintain 
pre-eminence of his see against Becket's 
successor. "In 1176," says Fuller, "a 
synod was called at Westminster, the 
Pope's legate being present thereat; on 
whose right hand sat Richard Archbishop 
of Canterbury, as in his proper place ; 
when in springs Roger of York, and, find- 
ing Canterbury so seated, fairly sits him 
down on Canterbury's lap, " irreverently 
pressing his haunches down upon the 
Archbishop," says Stephen of Birching- 
ton, " It matters as little to the reader 
as to the writer," the historian continues, 
"whether Roger beat Richard— or Rich- 
ard beat Roger ; yet, once for all, we 
will reckon up the arguments which each 
»ee alleged for its proceedings : " which 
accordingly follow with his usual racy 
humour.— Fu!Icr'i "Church Hist.," iiL 9 
3 (kce also Memorials of Westminster, 

chap. v.). Nor was York the only see 
which contested the Primacy of Canter- 
bury' at this momentous crisis. Gilbert 
Foliot endeavoured in his own person 
to revive the claims of London, which 
had been extinct from the fabulous age 
of Lucius son of Cole. " He aims," says 
John of Salisbury, in an epistle burning 
with indignation, " he aims at transfer- 
ring the metropolitical see to London, 
where he boasts that the Archflamcn 
once s.-ite, whilst Jupiter was worshipped 
there. And who knows but that this 
religious and discreet bishop is planning 
the restoration of the worship of Jupiter : 
so that, if he cannot get the Archbishopric 
in any other way, he may have at least 
the name and title of Archflamcn ? He 
relies," continues the angry partisan, " on 
an oracle of Merlin, who, inspired by 
I know not what spirit, is said before 
Augustine's coming to have prophesied 
the transference of the dignity of Canter- 
bury to London." — Ussher, "Brit Eccl. 
Ar.t," 711. The importance attached to 
this question of coronation may be further 
illustrated by the long series of effigies 
of the Primates of Germany, in Mayence 
Cathedral, where the Archbishops of that 
see— the Canterbury of the German Em- 
pire — are represented in the act of crown- 
ing the German Emp-.-rors as the most 
characteri.<«ttc trait in their archiepiscopal 

64 Controversy with tlie Archbishop of York, [1170. 

from the time of Augustine downwards inherent in the see 
of Canterbury, had been infringed, and with his usual 
ardour he procured from the Pope letters against the three 
prelates wlio had taken part in the daring act, probably with 
the authority of the Pope himself. These letters consisted 
of a suspension of the Archbishop of York, and a revival of 
a former excommunication of the Bishops of London and 
Salisbury. His earliest thought on landing in England was 
to get them conveyed to the offending prelates, who were 
then at Dover. They sent some clerks to remonstrate with 
him at Canterbury, but finding that he was not to be moved, 
they embarked for France, leaving, however, a powerful 
auxiliary in the person of Randulf de Broc, a knight to 
whom the King had granted possession of the archiepiscopal 
castle of Saltwood, and who was for this, if for no other 
reason, a sworn enemy to Becket and his return. The first 
object of the Archbishop was to conciliate the young King, 
who was then at Woodstock, and his mode of courting 
him was characteristic. Three splendid ^ chargers, of which 
his previous experience of horses enabled him to know 
the merits, were the gift by wliich he hoped to win over the 
mind of his former pupil ; and he himself, after a week's 
stay at Canterbury, followed the messenger who was to 
announce his present to the Prince. He passed through 
Rochester in state, entered London in a vast procession 
that advanced three miles out of the city to meet him, and 
took up his quarters at Southwark, in the palace of the aged 
Bishop of Winchester, Henry of Blois, brother of King 
Stephen. Here he received orders from the young King to 
proceed no further, but return instantly to Canterbury. In 
obedience to the command, but professedly (and this is a 
characteristic illustration of much that follows) from a desire 
to be at his post on Christmas-day, he relinquished his design, 
and turned for the last time from the city of liis birth to Uie 
city of his death. 

» Fitzstcphen, 284, 285. 

1170.] The Parting ivith the Abbot of St. Albans. 6$ 

One more opening of reconciliation occurred. Before 
he finally left the vicinity of London he halted for a few- 
days at his manor-house at Harrow, probably to make 
inquiries about a contumacious priest who then occupied 
the vicarage of that town. He sent thence to the neigh- 
bouring abbey of St. Albans to request an interview with 
the Abbot Simon. The ^ Abbot came over with magnificent 
presents from the good cheer of his abbey ; and the Arch- 
bishop was deeply affected on seeing him, embraced and 
kissed him tenderly, and urged him, pressing the Abbot's 
hand to his heart under his cloak and quivering with emo- 
tion, to make a last attempt on the mind of the Prince. The 
Abbot went to Woodstock, but returned without success. 
Becket, heaving a deep sigh, and shaking his head signifi- 
cantly, said, " Let be — let be. Is it not so, is it not so, that 
the days of the end hasten to their completion ? " He then 
endeavoured to console his friend: — "My Lord Abbot, 
many thanks for your fruitless labour. The sick man is 
sometimes beyond the reach of physicians, but he will soon 
bear his own judgment." He then turned to the clergy 
around him, and said, with the deep feeling of an injured 
Primate, " Look you, my friends, the Abbot, who is bound 
by no obligations to me, has done more for me than all my 
brother-bishops and suffragans;" alluding especially to the 
charge which the Abbot had left with the cellarer of St. 
Albans to supply the Archbishop with everything during his 
own absence at Woodstock. At last the day of parting 
came. The Abbot, with clasped hands, entreated Becket to 
spend the approaching festival of Christmas and St. Ste- 
phen's day at his own abbey of the great British martyr. 
Becket, moved to tears, replied : — " O, how gladly would I 
come, but it has been otherwise ordered. Go in peace, dear 
brother, go in peace to your church, which may God pre- 

* This interview is given at lengtli in traditions of th« Abbey. Hist. Angl., 124. 
Matthew Paris, who, as a monk of St. Vit. Abbat., 91. 
Albans, probably derived it from the 

66 Insults from the Brocs of Saltwood, [ina 

serve ; but I go to a sufficient excuse for my not going with 
you. But come with me, and be my guest and comforter 
in my many troubles." They parted on the high ridge of 
the hill of Harrow, to meet no more. 

It was not without reason that the Archbishop's mind 
was filled with gloomy forebodings. The first open mani- 
festations of hostility proceeded from the family of the Brocs 
of Saltwood. Already tidings had reached him that Ran- 
dulf de Broc had seized a vessel laden with wine from the 
King, and had killed the crew, or imprisoned them in Peven- 
sey Castle. This injury was promptly repaired at the bidding 
of the young King, to whom the Archbishop had sent a 
complaint through the Prior of Dover,' and the friendly 
Abbot of St. Albans. But the enmity of the Brocs was not 
so easily allayed. No sooner had the Primate reached 
Canterbury than he was met by a series of fresh insults. 
[Dec. 24.] Randulf, he was told, was huntmg do\^Ti his archi- 
episcopal deer with his own dogs in his o^^^l woods ; and 
Robert, another of the same family, who had been a Cister- 
cian monk, but had since taken to a secular life, sent out 
his nephew John to waylay and cut off the tails of a sumpter 
mule and a horse of the Archbishop. This jest, or outrage (ac- 
cording as we regard it), which occurred on Christmas-eve, 
took deep possession of Becket's mind.' On Christmas-day, 
after the solemn celebration of the usual midnight mass, he 
entered the cathedral for the services of that great festival. 
Before the performance of high mass he mounted the pulpit 
in the cliapter-house, and preached on the text, " On earth, 
peace to men of good will." It was the reading (perhaps 
the true reading) of the Vulgate version; and had once 
before afforded him the opportunity of rejecting the argu- 
ment on his return tliat he ought to come in peace. "There 
is no peace," he said, "but to men of good will."3 On this 
limitation of the universal message of Christian love, lie now 
proceeded to discourse. He began by speaking of the 

» Fitzstcplicn, 286. • Filzstephen, 287. " Fitrstephen, 283. 

1170.] Scene in the Cathedral on Christinas- D ay » 6y 

sainted fathers of the church of Canterbury, the presence of 
whose bones made doubly hallowed the consecrated ground. 
** One martyr," he said, " they had already " — Alfege, mur- 
dered by the Danes, whose tomb stood on the north side of 
the high altar ; " it was possible," he added, " that they 
would soon have another." ^ The people who thronged the 
nave were in a state of wild excitement ; they wept and 
groaned; and an audible murmur ran through the church, 
" Father, why do you desert us so soon ? to whom will you 
leave us ? " But, as he went on with his discourse, the 
plaintive strain gradually rose into a tone of fier}^ indignation. 
" You would have thought," says Herbert of Bosham, who 
was present, " that you were looking at the prophetic beast, 
which had at once the face of a man and the face of a lion." 
He spoke — the fact is recorded by all the biographers 
without any sense of its extreme incongruity — he spoke of 
the insult of the docked tail ^ of the sumpter mule, and, in a 
voice of thunder,3 excommunicated Randulf and Robert de 
Broc; and in the same sentence included the Vicar of 
Thirlwood, and Nigel of Sackville, the Vicar of Harrow, for 
occupying those incumbencies without his authority, and re- 
fusing access to his ofhcials.* He also publicly denounced 
and forbade communication with the three bishops who, by 
crowning the young King, had not feared to encroach upon 
the prescriptive rights of the church of Canterbury. " May 
they be cursed," he said, in conclusion, " by Jesus Christ, 
and may their memory be blotted out of the assembly of the 

* Fitzstepheii, 292. the previous Lecture, p. 53.) A curse 

• According to the popular belief, the lighted also on the blacksmiths of a town, 
excommunication of the Kroc family was where one of that trade had " dogged his 
not the only time that Becket avenged a horse." — (Fuller's Worthies.) " Some in 
similar offence. Lambard, in his "Per- Spain (to my own knowledge), at this very 
ambulations of Kent," says that the day, believe that the English, especially 
people of Stroud, neair Rochester, in- the Kentish men, are born with tails, for 
suited Eecket as he rode through the curtailing Becket's mule." — (Covel on tliQ 
town, and, like the Brocs, cut off the tails Greek Church, Pref. p. xv.) 

of his horses. Their descendants, as a * Herbert, L 323 ; Gamier, 63, 4. 

judgment for the crime, were ever after * Gamier, 71, 15. 
bom with horses' tails. (See, however, 

6S Last Acts of Becket. [1170. 

saints, whoever shall sow hatred and discord between me 
and my Lord the King." ' With these words he dashed the 
candle on the pavement,' in token of the extinction of his 
enemies : and as he descended from the pulpit, to pass to 
the altar to celebrate mass, he repeated to his Welsh cross- 
bearer, Alexander Llewellyn, the prophetic words, " One 
martyr, St. Alfege, you have already — another, if God will, 
you will have soon." 3 The service in the cathedral was 
followed by the banquet in his hall, at which, although 
Christmas-day fell this year on a Friday, it was observed 
that he ate as usual, in honour of the joyous festival of the 
Nativity. On the next day, Saturday, the Feast of St 
Stephen, and on Sunday, the Feast of St. John, he again 
celebrated mass ; and towards the close of the day, under 
cover of the dark, he sent away, with messages to the King 
of France and the Archbishop of Sens, his faitliful servant 
Herbert of Bosham, telling him that he would see him no 
more, but that he was anxious not to expose him to the 
further suspicions of Henry. Herbert departed wiih a heavy 
heart,^ and with him went Alexander Llewellyn the Welsh 
crossbearer. The Archbishop sent off another servant to 
the Pope, and two others to the Bishop of Norwich, with 
a letter relating to Hugh Earl of Norfolk, He also drew 
up a deed appointing his priest William to the chapelry of 
Penshurst, with an excommunication against any one who 
should take it from him.s These are his last recorded 
public acts. On the night of the same Sunday he received 
a warning letter from France, announcing that he was in 
peril from some new attack.^ What this was is now to be 

The three prelates of York, London, and Salisbury, 
having left England as soon as they heard that the Arch- 
bishop was immovable, arrived in France a few days before 

' Fitzstcphen, jga. * Herbert, 324, 325. 

• Grim, cd. Giles, i. 68. * Fiiistephen, 29a, 293. 

* Fitzstepben, aga. * Anon. Passio TertU, ed. Giles, ii. 156. 

1170.] Fury of the Kt7tg, 69 

Christmas,' and immediately proceeded to the King, who 
was then at the castle of Bur, near Bayeux.* It was a place 
already famous in history as the scene of the interview 
between William and Harold, when the oath was perfidiously 
exacted and sworn which led to the conquest of England. 
All manner of rumours about Becket's proceedings had 
reached the ears of Henry, and he besought the advice of 
the three prelates. The Archbishop of York answered 
cautiously, " Ask council from your barons and knights ; it 
is not for us to say what must be done." A pause ensued ; 
and then it was added — whether by Roger or by some one 
else does not clearly appear — *'As long as Thomas lives, 
you will have neither good days, nor peaceful kingdom, nor 
quiet life." 3 The words goaded the King into one of those 
paroxysms of fury to which all the earlier Plantagenet 
princes were subject, and which was believed by themselves 
to arise from a mixture of demoniacal blood in their race. 
It is described in Henry's son John as " something beyond 
anger : he was so changed in his whole body, that a man 
would hardly have known him. His forehead was drawn 
up into deep furrows ; his flaming eyes glistened ; a livid 
hue took the place of colour." -♦ Henry himself is said at 
these moments to have become like a wild beast ; his eyes, 
naturally dove-like and quiet, seemed to flash lightning ; his 
hands struck and tore whatever came in their way ; on one 
occasion he flew at a messenger, who brought him bad 
tidings, to tear out his eyes; at another time he is represented 
as having flung down his cap, torn off his clothes, thrown 
the silk coverlet from his bed, and rolled upon it, gnawing 
the straw and rushes. Of such a kind was the frenzy which 
struck terror through all hearts at the Council of Clarendon, 
and again at Northampton, when, with tremendous menaces, 
sworn upon his usual oath, **the eyes of God," he insisted on 

• Herbert, 319. Worcester, i. 153. 

• Garnicr, 65 (who gives the inter- * Fitzstcphen, 390. 

view in great delail). Florence of * Richard of Devizes, § 40. 

70 The Four Knights. [117a 

Becket's appearance.' Of such a kind was the frenzy which 
he showed on the present occasion. "A fellow," he ex- 
claimed, " that has eaten my bread has lifted up his heel 
against me — a fellow that I loaded with benefits dares insult 
the King and the whole royal family, and tramples on the 
whole kingdom — a fellow that came to court on a lame 
horse, with a cloak for a saddle, sits without hindrance 
on the throne itself. What sluggard wretches," he burst 
forth again and again, " what cowards have I brought up 
in my court, who' care nothing for their allegiance to their 
master ! not one will deliver me from this low-bom priest!"* 
and with these fatal words he rushed out of the room. 

There were present among tlie courtiers four knights, 
whose names long lived in the memory of men, and every 
ingenuity was exercised to extract from them an evil augury 
of the deed which has made them famous — Reginald 
Fitzurse, "son of the Bear," and of truly "bear-like" cha- 
racter (so the Canterbury monks represented it) ; Hugh de 
Moreville, " of the city of death " — of whom a dreadful 
story was told of his having ordered a young Saxon to be 
boiled alive on the false accusation of his wife ; William 
de Tracy — a brave soldier, it was said, but " of parricidal 
wickedness ; " Richard le Brez or le Bret, commonly known 
as Brito, from the Latinised version of his name in the 
Chronicles — more fit, they say, to have been called the 
"Brute." 3 They are all described as on familiar terms with 
the King himself, and sometimes, in official language, as 
gentlemen of tlie bed-chamber.* They also appear to have 
been brought together by old associations. Fitzurse, More- 
ville, and Tracy, had all sworn homage to Becket while 
Chancellor. Fitzurse, Tracy, and Bret, had all connections 

■ Ro^er, 134, 104. built on the Identity of the Trojan 5rw^i« 

• Will. Cant., ed. Giles, U. p. 30 ; wiih the primitive Briton, See Lam- 
Grim, 63 ; Gcrvasc, 1414. bard's " Kent,*p. 306. Fitiursc is called 

• WUL Cint., 31. This play on the simply '* Reginald Burc." 
word will appear less strange, when we * Cubicularii. 
rc:nember the legendary superstructure 

1170.] Their History, fi 

with Somersetshire. Their rank and lineage can even now 
be accurately traced through the medium of our county- 
historians and legal records. Moreville was of higher rank 
and office than the others. He was this very year Justice 
Itinerant of the counties of Northumberland and Cumber- 
land, where he inherited the barony of Burgh-on-the-Sands 
and other possessions from his father Roger and his grand- 
father Simon. He was likewise forester of Cumberland, 
owner of the castle of Knaresborough, and added to his 
paternal property that of his wife, Helwise de Stute-ville.* 
Tracy was the younger of two brothers, sons of John de 
Sudely and Grace de Traci. He took the name of his 
mother, who was daughter of William de Traci, a natural 
son of Henry I. On his father's side he was descended 
from the Saxon Ethelred. He was bom at Toddington, in 
Gloucestershire,* where, as well as in Devonshire,3 he held 
large estates. Fitzurse was the descendant of Urso, or 
Ours, who had, under the Conqueror, held Grittleston in 
Wiltshire, of the Abbey of Glastonbury. His father, Richard 
Fitzurse, became possessed in the reign of Stephen of the 
manor of Willeton in Somersetshire, which had descended 
to Reginald a few years before the time of which we are 
speaking. ■♦ He was also a tenant in chief in Northampton- 
shire, in tail in Leicestershire, s Richard the Breton was, it 
would appear from an incident in the murder, intimate with 
Prince William, the King's brother.^ He and his brother 
Edmund had succeeded to their father Simon le Bret, who 
had probably come over with the Conqueror from Brittany, 
and settled in Somersetshire, where the property of the family 
long continued in the same rich vale under the Quantock 
Hills, which contains Willeton, the seat of the Fitzurses.' 
Tliere is some reason to suppose that he was related to 

* Fow's Judgci of England, 1. 279. * Collinson's Somersetshire, iii. 487. 
■ Rudder's Gloucestershire, 770 ; Pedl- * Liber Niger Scaccarii, ai6-88. 

free of the Tracys in Britton'i Tod- • Fitzstcphen, 303. 

din^nn. * Collinsoa's Somersetshire, Ul. ST4. 

* Laber Niger Scaccarii, 115-191. 

72 The Knights meet at Saltwood Castle. [ll70. 

Gilbert Foliot* If so his enmity to the Archbishop is easily 

It is not clear on what day the fatal exclamation of the 
King was made ; Fitzstephen ' reports it as taking place on 
Sunday, the 27th of December. Others,3 who ascribe a 
more elaborate character to the whole plot, date it a few 
days before, on Thursday the 24th — the whole Court taking 
part in it, and Roger Archbishop of York giving full instruc- 
tions to the knights as to their future course. This perhaps 
arose from a confusion with the Council of Barons ^ actually 
held after the departure of the knights, of which, however, 
the chief result was to send three courtiers after them to 
arrest their progress. This second mission arrived too late. 
The four knights left Bur on the night of the King's fury. 
They then, it was thought, proceeded by different roads to 
the French coast, and crossed the channel on the following 
day. Two of them landed, as was aftenvards noticed with 
malicious satisfaction, at the port of " Dogs " near Dover,5 
two of them at Winchelsea,^ and all four arrived at the same 
hour ^ at the fortress of Saltwood Castle, the property of the 
see of Canterbury, but now occupied, as we have seen, by 
Becket's chief enemy — Dan Randolph of Broc — who came 
out to welcome thcm.^ Here they would doubtless be told 
of the excommunication launched against their host on 
Christmas-day. In the darkness of the night — the long 
winter night of the 28th of December? — it was believed that, 
with candles extinguished, and not even seeing each other's 
faces, the scheme was concerted. Early in the morning of 
the next day they issued orders in the King's name" for a 
troop of soldiers to be levied from the neighbourhood to 
march with them to Canterbury. They themselves mounted 

' See Robertson's Beckct, 266. * Gamier, 66, 67. 

■ Fiustcphen, 390. * Fitzstephen, 390 

" Gamier, 65, 17 ; so also Gervase, * Gamier, 66, v^ 

Chron., 1414. • Gamier, 66, 11. 

• Robertson's Beckct, 268. ** Grim, 69 ; Roger, L 160 ; Fittste* 

' Grim, 69 ; G«nrase, Chron., 1414. phen, 393 ; Gamier, 66, 6. 

1170.] Arrive at St. Augtiitine's Abbey. 73 

their chargers and galloped along the old Roman road from 
Lymne to Canterbury, which, under the name of Stone 
Street, runs in a straight line of nearly fifteen miles from 
Saltwood to the hills immediately above the city. They pro- 
ceeded instantly to St. Augustine's Abbey, outside the walls, 
and took up their quarters with Clarembald, the Abbot' 

The Abbey was in a state of considerable confusion at 
the time of their arrival. A destructive fire had ravaged the 
buildings two years before,* and the reparations could hardly 
have been yet completed. Its domestic state was still more 
disturbed. It was now nearly ten years since a feud had 
been raging between the inmates and their Abbot, who had 
been intruded on them in 1162, as Becket had been on the 
ecclesiastics of the Cathedral, — but with the ultimate dif- 
ference, that, |vhilst Becket had become the champion of 
the clergy, Clarembald had stood fast by the King, his 
patron, which perpetuated the quarrel between the monks 
and their superior. He had also had a dispute with Becket 
about his right of benediction in the abbey, and had been 
employed by the King against him on a mission in France. 
He would, therefore, naturally be eager to receive the new 
comers, and with him they concerted measures for their 
fiiture movements. 3 Having sent orders to the mayor or 
provost of Canterbury to issue a proclamation in the King's 
name, forbidding any one to offer assistance to the Arch- 
bishop,^ the knights once more mounted their chargers, and, 
accompanied by Robert of Broc, who had probably attended 
them from Saltwood, rode under the long Hne of wall which 
still separates the city and the precincts of the cathedral 
from St Augustine's monastery, till they reached the great 
gateway which opened into the court of the Archbishop's 
palace. 5 They were followed by a band of about a dozen 

' Gcrvase, Chron., 14T4. almost entirely destroyed, and its place 

• Thorn's Chron., 1817. occupied by modem houses. But an 

• Gcrvase, Chron., I4i4. ancient gateway on the site of the one 

• Gamier, 66, b. 10. here mentioned, though of later date, still 

• The Archbishop's palace U now leads from /'a/acf Street into these houses. 

74 TJie Fatal Tuesday, [117a 

armed men, wLom they placed in the house of one Gilbert,* 
which stood hard by the gate. 

It was Tuesday, the 29th of December. Tuesday, his 
friends remarked, had always been a significant day in 
Becket's life. On a Tuesday he was born and baptized — 
on a Tuesday he had fled from Northampton — on a Tues- 
day he had left England on his exile — on a Tuesday he 
had received warning of his martyrdom in a vision at Pon- 
tigny — on a Tuesday he had returned from that exile — it 
was now on a Tuesday that the fatal hour came' — and (as 
the next generation observed) it was on a Tuesday that his 
enemy King Henry was buried — on a Tuesday that the 
martyr's relics were translated 3 — and Tuesday was long after- 
wards regarded as the week-day especially consecrated to 
the saint, with whose fortunes it had thus been so strangely 
interwoven.* Other omens were remarked. A soldier who 
was in the plot whispered to one of the cellarmen of the 
Priory that the Archbishop would not see the evening of 
Tuesday. Becket only smiled. A citizen of Canterbury, 
Reginald by name, had told him that there were several in 
England who were bent on his death ; to which he answered, 
with tears, that he knew he should not be killed out of 
church. 5 He himself had told several persons in France, 
that he was convinced he should not outlive the year,^ and 
in two days the year would be ended 

Whether these evil auguries weighed upon his mind, or 
whether his attendants aftenvards ascribed to his words a 
more serious meaning than they really bore, the day opened 
with gloomy forebodings. Before the break of dawn, tlie 
Archbishop startled the clergy of his bed-chamber by asking 
whether it would be possible for any one to escape to Sand- 

• Fitrstcphcn, ttyj. the date of his death to 1x70, not 1171 ; 

• Robert of Gloucester, Life of Becket, Ccn-ase, 1418. 

885. * See the deed quoted In Journal of 

• Diceto (Giles), \. 377 ; Matthew Paris, British Archscol. Assoc, April 1854. 
97. It was the fact of the 29th of De- * Grandison, c. 5. Se« p. 71. 
cembcr falling on a Tue&day that fixes * Benedict, 71. 

1170.] The Kmghts enter the Palace. 75 

wich before daylight, and on being answered in the affinna- 
tive, added, "Let any one escape who wishes." That 
morning he attended mass in the cathedral ; then passed a 
long time in the chapter-house, confessing to two of the 
monks, and receiving, as seems to have been his custom, 
three scourgings.' Then came the usual banquet in the 
great hall of the Palace at three in the afternoon. He was 
observed to drink more than usual, and his cup-bearer, in a 
whisper, reminded him of it.* '* He who has much blood 
to shed," answered Becket, " must drink much." 3 

The dinner* was now over; the concluding hymn or 
" grace " was finished ; s and Becket had retired to his 
private room,^ where he sat on his bed, 7 talking to his 
friends ; whilst the servants, according to the practice which 
is still preserved in our old collegiate establishments, re- 
mained in the hall making their meal of the broken meat 
which was left^ The floor of the hall was strewn with fresh 
hay and straw,9 to accommodate with clean places those who 
could not find room on the benches ; " and the crowd of 
beggars and poor," who daily received their food from the 
Archbishop, had gone " into the outer yard, and were 
lingering before their final dispersion. It was at this moment 
that the four knights dismounted in the court before the 
hall 3*3 the doors were all open, and they passed through 
the crowd without opposition. Either to avert suspicion or 
from deference to the feeling of the time, which forbade 
the entrance of armed men into the peaceful precincts of the 
cathedral,'* they left their weapons behind, and their coats of 
mail were concealed by the usual cloak andgown/s the dress 

• Gamier, 70, b. 85. In summer it would have been fresh 
" Anon. Lambeth ed. Giles, !L xai ; rushes and green leaves. 

Roger, 169 ; Garnier, 77, b. 2. " Grim, 70 ; Fitzstcphen, 294. 

• Grandison, c 5. See p. 53. " Gamier, 66, b. 17. 

• Grandison, c 5. '" Fitzstcphen, 310, 

• For the account of his dinners, see " Gervase, 1415. 
Herbert, 63, 64, 70, 71. '* Grim. 70 ; Roger, 161. 

• Grim. 70 : Benedict, \\. 55. " Gamier, 66, b. «5, 67, b. 10 ; Roger, 

• Roger, 163, • Gamier, 20, b. 10. 161 ; Grim, 70. Sec the Archbishop'i 

• FiUstephen, 189. This was in winter. permission in p. 54. 

y6 Appearance of BeckeU [1170. 

of ordinary life. One attendant, Radulf, an archer, followed 
them. They were generally known as courtiers ; and the 
servants invited tliem to partake of the remains of the feast. 
They declined, and were pressing on, when, at the foot of 
the staircase leading from the hall to the Archbishop's room, 
they were met by William Fitz-Nigel, the seneschal, who had 
just parted from the Primate with a permission to leave his 
service, and join the King in France. When he saw the 
knights, whom he immediately recognised, he ran fonvard 
and gave them the usual kiss of salutation, and at their re- 
quest ushered them to the room where Becket sate. ** My 
lord," he said, " here are four knights from King Henry, 
wishing to speak to you." ' " Let them come in," said Becket. 
It must have been a solemn moment, even for those rough 
men, when they first found themselves in the presence of 
the Archbishop. Three of them — Hugh de Moreville, Regi- 
nald Fitzurse, and William de Tracy — had known him long 
before in tlie days of his splendour as Chancellor and 
favourite of the King. He was still in the vigour of strength, 
though in his fifty-third year : his countenance, if we may 
judge of it from the accounts at the close of the day, still 
retained its majestic and striking aspect ; his eyes were large 
and piercing, and always glancing to and fro;' and his tall 3 
figure, though really spare and thin, had a portly look from 
the number of wrappings which he bore beneath his ordinary 
clothes. Round about him sate or lay on the floor the 
clergy of his household — amongst them, his faithful coun- 
sellor John of Salisbury, William Fitzstephen his chaplain, 
and Edward Grim a Saxon monk of Cambridge,* who had 
arrived but a few days before on a visit 

When the four knights appeared, Becket, without looking 
at them, pointedly continued his conversation with the monk 
who sate next him, and on whose shoulder he was leaning. s 
They, on tlieir part, entered without a word, beyond a 

' Gamier, 67, 15. ' Herbert, 63, ■ Fitzstephen, 185, 

* Herbert, 337. * Gamier, 67, 20, »6. 


■' '* ■ : ■' ■ ^^- - - - - ^ 




.:.-■ ' 'ii'li:!it('."KJtt"''"«ill'J 

['/o/tuf />. 76. 

Course of the Archbishop 
•- . , . Knights 

^ i^^.l 

PLAN Slli.UINi; nil CUUKSK TAk-r.N nv lUXKKr AM) IIH KMdinS WHO 

{To face f>. 77. 

1170.] The Knights^ Litervlew with BeckiU yy 

greeting exchanged in a whisper to the attendant who stood 
near the door/ and then marched straight to where the 
Archbishop sate, and placed themselves on the floor at his 
feet, among the clergy who were reclining around. Radulf 
the archer sate behind them " on the boards. Becket now 
turned round for the first time, and gazed steadfastly on 
each in silence,^ which he at last broke by saluting Tracy by 
name. The conspirators contmued to look minutely at each 
other, till Fitzurse,-* who throughout took the lead, replied, 
with a scornful expression, " God help you !" Becket's face 
grew crimson,5 and he glanced round at their countenances,^ 
which seemed to gather fire from Fitzurse's speech. Fitz- 
urse again broke forth, — "We have a message from the 
King over the water — tell us whether you will hear it in 
private, or in the hearing of all." ^ " As you wish," said 
the Archbishop. *' Nay, as you wish," said Fitzurse.^ 
** Nay, as you wish," said Becket The monks at the Arch- 
bishop's intimation withdrew into an adjoining room j but 
the doorkeeper ran up and kept the door ajar, that they 
might see from the outside what was going on.9 Fitzurse 
had hardly begun his message, when Becket, suddenly 
struck with a consciousness of his danger, exclaimed, " This 
must not be told in secret," and ordered the doorkeeper to 
recall the monks."* For a few seconds the knights were left 
alone with Becket ; and the thought occurred to them, as 
they afterwards confessed, of killing him with the cross-staff 
which lay at his feet — the only weapon within their reach." 
The monks hurried back, and Fitzurse, apparently calmed 
by their presence, resumed his statement of the complaints 
of the King. These complaints," which are given by various 

• Benedict, 55. * Roger, 161 ; Gamier, 67, b. 19. 

• Roger, 161 ; Gamier, 67. * Roger, 161 ; Benedict, 55. 

" Roger, i6i. " Roger, i6a ; Benedict, 36 ; Garnier, 

• Roger, 161. 67, b. 20. 

• Grim, 70 ; Gamier, 67, 18. " Grim, 71 ; Roger, 165 ; Gamier, d-j, 

• Roger, i6i. b. 25. It was probably Tracy's thouglit, 

• Grim, 70; Roger, 161 ; Carnicr, 67, as his was the confession generally known. 
b. X0-15. " In this dialogue I have not attempted 


78 TJie Knights Interview with Becket, [117a 

chroniclers in very different words, were three in number. 

" The King over the water commands you to perform your 

duty to the King on this side the water, instead of taking 

away his crown." *' Rather than take away his crowTi," 

rephed Becket, " I would give him three or four crowns." ' 

" You have excited disturbances in the kingdom, and the 

King requires you to answer for them at his court" 

'* Never," said the Archbishop, " shall the sea again come 

between me and my church, unless I am dragged thence by 

the feet." "You have excommunicated the bishops, and 

you must absolve them." " It was not I,'* replied Becket, 

" but the Pope, and you must go to him for absolution." 

He then appealed, in language which is variously reported, 

to the promises of the King at their interview in the preced 

ing July. Fitzurse burst forth, " vVliat is it you say ? You 

charge the King with treacher}\" " Reginald, Reginald," 

said Becket, " I do no such thing ; but I appeal to the 

archbishops, bishops, and great people, five hundred and 

more, who heard it, and you were present yourself. Sir 

Reginald." " I was not," said Reginald, " I never saw nor 

heard anything of the kind." " You were," said Becket, " I 

saw you."* The knights, irritated by contradiction, swore 

again and again, " by God's wounds," that they had borne 

with him long enough. 3 John of Salisbury, the prudent 

counsellor of the Archbishop, who perceived tliat matters 

were advancing to extremities, whispered, " My lord, speak 

privately to them about this." "No," said Becket; "they 

make proposals and demands which I cannot and ought 

not to admit"* 

He, in his turn, complained of the insults he had 

to give more than the words of the lead- ' Benedict, 56 ; Gamier, 68. 

Ing questions and answers, in which most " He was remarkable for the tena- 

of the chroniclers are agreed. Where the city of hi memory, never forgetting 

soecchcs are recorded with great v.iricties what he had beard or learned (Gervasc, 

of expression, It is impossible to distin- Chron.). 

guUh accurately between what was really * Benedict, 59 ; Gamier, 68, 16. 

spoken, and wh.-\t was aflerw.'<rds written * Fiustepheo, 295. 

as likely to have been spoken. 

1170.J The Knight^ Interview with Becket, 79 

received. First came the grand grievances of the preceding 
week. " They have attacked my servants, they have cut off 
my sumpter-mule's tail, they have carried off the casks of wine 
that were the King's own gift" » It was now that Hugh de 
Moreville, the gentlest of the four,^ put in a milder answer : 
" "V\Tiy did you not complain to the King of these outrages ? 
WTiy do you take upon yourself to punish them by your otvti 
authority?" The Archbishop turned round sharply upon 
him ; " Hugh, how proudly you lift up your head I When 
the rights of the Church are violated, I shall wait for no 
man's permission to avenge them. I will give to the King 
the things that are the King's ; but to God the things that 
are God's. It is my business, and I alone will see to it." 3 
For the first time in the interview the Archbishop had 
assumed an attitude of defiance; the fury of the knights 
broke at once through the bonds which had partially re- 
strained it, and displayed itself openly in those impassioned 
gestures which are now confined to the half-civilised nations 
of the south and east, but which seem to have been natural 
to all classes of mediaeval Europe. Their eyes flashed fire : 
they sprang upon their feet, and rushing close up to him 
gnashed their teeth, twisted their long gloves, and wildly 
threw their arms above their heads. Fitzurse exclaimed, 
*' You threaten us, you threaten us ; ^ are you going to 
excommunicate us all ? " One of the others added, " As I 
hope for God's mercy, he shall not do that ; he has excom- 
municated too many akeady." The Archbishop also sprang 
from his couch, in a state of strong excitement "You 
threaten me," he said, "in vain; were all the swords in 
England hanging over my head, you could not terrify me 
from my obedience to God, and my lord the Pope.s Foot 
to foot shall you find me in the battle of the Lord.'^ Once 

• Roger, 163 ; Benedict, 6i ; Gcrvasc, a common expression at It would seem. 
(4x5 ; Gamier, 68, b. 26. Compare Benedict, 71. 

' Benedict, 62. • Roger, 163 ; Benedict, 61 ; Gervaae, 

• Roger, 163, 164. 1415. 

• Fitistephen, 296. " Mias, mio*," • Benedict. 6i. 

8o The Knights' Interview with Becket, [117a 

I gave way. I returned to my obedience to the Pope, and 
will never more desert it And besides, you know what 
there is between you and me ; I wonder the more that you 
should thus threaten the Arclibishop in his o\^^l house." 
He alluded to the fealty sworn to him while Chancellor by 
Moreville, Fitzurse, and Tracy, which touched the tenderest 
nerve of the feudal character. "Tliere is nothing," they 
rejoined, with an anger which they doubtless felt to be just 
and loyal, " there is nothing between you and us which can 
be against the King." * 

Roused by the sudden burst of passion on both sides, 
many of the servants and clergy, with a few soldiers of the 
household, hastened into the room, and ranged themselves 
round the Archbishop. Fitzurse turned to them and said, 
"You who are on the King's side, and bound to him by 
your allegiance, stand off." They remained motionless, and 
Fitzurse called to them a second time, " Guard him ; prevent 
him from escaping." The Archbishop said, " I shall not 
escape." On this the knights cauglit hold of their old 
acquaintance, William Fitz-Nigel, who had entered with the 
rest, and hurried him with them, saying, " Come with us." 
He called out to Becket; "You see what they are doing with 
me." " I see," replied Becket ; " this is their hour, and the 
power of darkness." " As they stood at the door, they ex- 
claimed,3 " It is you who threaten ; " and in a deep under- 
tone they added some menace, and enjoined on the servants 
obedience to their orders. With the quickness of hearing 
for which he was remarkable, he caught the words of their 
defiance, and darted after them to the door, entreating tliem 
to release Fitz-Nigel ; * then he implored Moreville, as more 
courteous than the others, to return 5 and repeat their mes- 

' Fitzstephcn, 296 ; Grim, 7a ; Anon, aliqiiid in ejus presentiS licet lonjiii<;cuIi 

Passio QiiliiU, 174. et submisse dici posset, quod non audiret 

■ Fitistephcn, 296. »1 aurem apponcre voluissct," 

• Gamier, 68, b. 13. For the general * Fit/stcphen, 295. 

fact of the acutcness of his' tenses, both * Benedict, 6t ; Gamlw, ^■g. 
hearing and smell, t^e Roger, 55. " Vix 

Their Assault on the Palace. 8i 

sage; and lastly, in despair and indignation, he struck his 
neck repeatedly with his hand, and said, "Here, here you 
will find me." ^ 

The knights, deaf to his solicitations, kept their course, 
seizing, as they went, another soldier, Radulf Morin, and 
passed through the hall and court, crying, " To arms I to 
arms ! " A few of their companions had already taken post 
within the great gateway, to prevent the gate being shut;; 
the rest, at the shout, poured in from the house where they 
were stationed hard by, with the watchword, " King's men ! 
King's men ! " (Reaux ! Reaux !) The gate was instantly 
closed, to cut off communication with the town ; the Arch- 
bishop's porter was removed, and in front of the wicket, 
which was left open, William Fitz-Nigel, who seems suddenly 
to have turned against his master, and Simon of Croil, a 
soldier attached to the household of Clarembald, kept guard 
on horseback.* The knights threw oif their cloaks and 
gowns under a large sycamore in the garden,3 appeared in 
their armour, and girt on their swords.* Fitzurse armed 
himself in the porch, s with the assistance of Robert Tibia, 
trencherman of the Archbishop. Osbert and Algar, two of 
the servants, seeing their approach, shut and barred the 
door of tlie hall, and the knights in vain endeavoured to 
force it open,^ But Robert de Broc, who had known the 
palace during the time of its occupation by his uncle Ran- 
dolf,7 called out, " Follow me, good sirs, I will show you 
another way ! " and got into the orchard behind the kitchen. 
There was a staircase leading thence to the ante-chamber 
between the hall and the Archbishop's bed-room. The 

' Grim. 73 ; Roger, 163 ; Gamier, 69, remains, Incorporated in one of the mo- 

b. 5 (though he places this speech earlier), dern houses now occupying the site of 

• Fitzstephen, 298. the Pabce. There is a similar porch, in 
■ Gervase, Act. Pont., 167a. a more complete state, the only fragment 

• Gamier, 70, 11. of a similar hall, adjoining the palace at 

• Fitzstephen, 298. The porch of the Norwich. 

hall, built, doubtless, on the plan of the • Fitzstephen, 297, 298. 

one here mentioned by Archbishop Lang- * Fitzstephen, 298 ; Roger, 165 ; Car- 
ton about fifty years later, still in part nier, 70. 

82 Retreat of Becket to tJie Cathedral [117a 

wooden steps were under repair, and the carpenters had 
gone to their dinner, leaving their tools on the stairs.^ Fitz- 
urse seized an axe, and the others hatchets, and thus armed 
they mounted the staircase to the ante-cham.ber,* broke 
through an oriel-window which looked out on the garden, 3 
entered the hall from the inside, attacked and wounded tlie 
servants who were guarding it, and opened the door to the 
assailants. ♦ The Archbishop's room was still barred and 

Meanwhile Becket, who resumed his calmness as soon as 
the knights had retired, reseated himself on his couch, and 
John of Salisbury again urged moderate counsels,5 in words 
which show that the estimate of the Archbishop in his life- 
time justifies the impression of his vehement and unreason- 
able temper which has prevailed in later times, though 
entirely lost during the centuries which elapsed between his 
death and the Reformation. "It is wonderful, my Lord, 
that you never take any one's advice ; it always has been, 
and always is your custom, to do and say what seems good to 
yourself alone." "^Vhat would you have me do, Dan John?"^ 
said BeckeL " You ought to have taken counsel with your 
friends, knowing as you do that these men only seek occasion 
to kill you." " I am prepared to die," said Becket *' We are 
sinners," said John, " and not yet prepared for death ; and 
I see no one who \vishes to die without cause except you." ^ 
The Archbishop answered, " Let God's will be done." ^ 
•'Would to God it might end well," sighed John in despair.' 
The dialogue was interrupted by one of the monks rushing 
in to announce that the knights were arming. " Let them 
arm," said Becket But in a few minutes the violent assault 
on the door of the hall, and the crash of a wooden partition 
in tjie passage from the orchard, announced that danger was 

• Roger, 165 ; Benedict, 63. * Fiustejhcn, 198 ; Benedict, frs. 

• Grim, 73 ; Filzstcphen, 2^8 ; Gamier, * Roscr, 164 ; Gamier, 69, b. 35- 
yo, b. I. ' Gamier, 70, b. 10. 

• Gamier, 70, b. 2. * Roger, 164 ; BcneJict, 6s ; Gamier, 

• Benedict, 63. lo^ zp. • Benedict, 62. 

1170.] Miracle of the Loch 83 

close at hand. The monks, with that extraordinary timidity 
which they always seem to have displayed, instantly fled, 
leaving only a small body of his intimate friends or faithful 
attendants. ' They united in entreating him to take refuge 
in the cathedral. "No," he said; *'fear not; all monks 
are cowards."* On this some sprang upon him, and endea- 
voured to drag him there by main force ; others urged that it 
was now five o'clock, that vespers were beginning, and that 
his duty called him to attend the service. Partly forced, 
partly persuaded by the argument,3 partly feeling that his 
doom called him thither, he rose and moved, but seeing that 
his cross-staff was not, as usual, borne before him, he stopped 
and called for it* He remembered, perhaps, the memorable 
day at the Council of Northampton, when he had himself 
borne the cross s through the royal Hall to the dismay and 
fury of his opponents. His ordinary cross-bearer, Alexander 
Llewelljrn, had, as we have seen, left him for France ^ two 
days before, and the cross-staff was, therefore, borne by one 
of his clerks, Henry of Auxerre7 They first attempted to 
pass along the usual passage to the cathedral, through the 
orchard, to the western front of the church. But both court 
and orchard being by this time thronged with armed men,^ 
they turned through a room which conducted to a private 
door 9 that was rarely used, and which led from the palace 
to the cloisters of the monastery. One of the monks ran 
before to force it, for the key was lost. Suddenly the door 
flew open as if of itself, ^° and in the confusion of the moment, 
when none had leisure or inclination to ask how so oppor- 
tune a deliverance occurred, it was natural for the story to 

' Gamier, 70, b. 16. * Fitzstephen, 299 ; Benedict, 64. 

• Roger, 165 ; Fitzstephen, 298. • Herbert 143. 

• Fitzstephen, 299. He had dreamed, * Herbert, 330. 

or anticipated, that he should be killed in ' Fitzstephen, 299. 

church, and had communicated his appre- ' Roger, 165. 

heniioni to the abbots of Pontigny and ' Gamier, 71. 

Val-Lulsant (Benedict, 65), and, as we '* Grim, 73 ; Roger, 166 ; Garnler, 17. 

have seen, to a citizen of Canterbury on b. 9. 

the ere of this day. 

84 SceJie in the CathedraL [1170. 

arise which is related, with one exception,* in all the narra- 
tives of the period — that the bolt came ofT as though it had 
merely been fastened on by glue, and left their passage free. 
This one exception is the account by Benedict, then a monk 
of the monastery, and afterwards abbot of Peterborough, 
and his version, compared with that of all the other his- 
torians, is an instructive commentary on a thousand fables 
of a similar kind. Two cellarmen, he says, of the monas- 
tery, Richard and William, whose lodgings were in that part 
of the building, hearing the tumult and clash of arms, flew 
to the cloister, drew back the bolt from the other side, and 
opened the door to the party from the palace. Benedict 
knew nothing of the seeming miracle, as his brethren were 
ignorant of the timely interference of the cellarmen. But 
both miracle and explanation would at the moment be 
alike disregarded. Every monk in that terrified band had 
but a single thought — to reach the church with their master 
in safety. The whole march was a struggle between the 
obstinate attempt of the Primate to preserve his dignity, and 
the frantic eagerness of his attendants to gain the sanctuary. 
As they urged him forward, he coloured and paused, and re- 
peatedly asked them what they feared. The instant they 
had passed through the door which led to the cloister, the 
subordinates flew to bar it behind them, which he as per- 
emptorily forbade.' For a few steps he walked firmly on, 
with the cross-bearer and the monks before him ; halting 
once, and looking over his right shoulder, either to see 
whether the gate was locked, or else if his enemies were 
pursuing. Then the same ecclesiastic who had hastened 
foHN'ard to break open the door, called out, " Seize him, and 

• Benedict. 64. It is curious that a the tangled mass, and opened the door 

t^milar miracle was thought to have oc- (Roger, 142). The ccllarman, Richard, 

curred on his leaving the royal castle at was the one who had received Intimation 

Northampton. lie found the gate locked of the danger (as mentioned in p. 74), and 

and barred. One of his servants caught who would therefore be on the watch. See 

ilght of a btindle of keys hanging aloft, Willis's Conventual Build'ngs of Christ 

aeized It, and with wonderful quickness Church, p. 116. 

{quod quasi miraculum quihuscLim vi- • FiUslcplien, 191. 
turn tst\ picked out the right key frotn 

1170.] Sce7ie in the Cathedral, 85 

carry him."' Vehemently he resisted, but in vain. Some 
pulled him from before, others pushed from behind ; * half 
carried, half drawn, he was borne along the northern and 
eastern cloister, crying out, " Let me go, do not drag me." 
Thrice they were delayed, even in that short passage, for 
thrice he broke loose from them — twice in the cloister itself, 
and once in the chapter-house, which opened out of its 
eastern side. 3 At last they reached the door of the lower 
north transept of the cathedral, and here was presented a 
new scene. 

The vespers had already begun, and the monks were 
singing the service in the choir, when two boys rushed up 
the nave, announcing, more by their terrified gestures than 
by their words, that the soldiers were bursting into the 
palace and monaster}\'t Instantly the service was thrown 
into the utmost confusion ; part remained at prayer — part 
fled into the numerous hiding-places the vast fabric aifords ; 
and part went down the steps of the choir into the transept 
to meet the little band at the door.s '* Come in, come in! " 
exclaimed one of them, " come in, and let us die together " 
The Archbishop continued to stand outside, and said, " Go 
and finish the service. So long as you keep in the entrance, 
I shall not come in." They fell back a few paces, and he 
stepped within the door, but, finding the whole place thronged 
with people, he paused on the threshold and asked, " What 
is it that these people fear ? " One general answer broke 
forth, " The armed men in the cloister." As he turned and 
said, " I shall go out to them," he heard the clash of arms 
behind.^ The knights had just forced their way into the 
cloister, and were now (as would appear from their being 
thus seen through the open door) advancing along its 
southern side. They were in mail, which covered their 

» Rx>ger, 166. that we ascertain the sides of the cloUter 

• Gamier, 71, 97. by wh'ch Beckct caine. 

• Roger, 166. It Is from this mention * Will. Cant., 3a. 
of the chapter-house, which occupied the • Fitzstcphan, 249. 

ftame relative position as the present one, * Benedict, 64 ; Herbert, 33<3> 

D 2 

S6 Entrance of tJie Knights, [1170. 

faces up to their eyes, and carried their swords drawn.' 
With tliem was Hugh of Horsea, sumamed Mauclcrc, a 
subdcacon, chaplain of Robert de Broc.' Three had 
hatchets. 3 Fitzurse, with the axe he had taken from the 
carpenters, was foremost, shouting as he came, "Here, 
here, king's men ! " Immediately behind him followed 
Robert Fritzranulph,^ with three other knights, whose names 
are not preserved ; and a motley group — some their owTi 
followers, some from the town — with weapons, though not 
in armour, brought up the rear.s At this sight, so unwonted 
in tlie peaceful cloisters of Canterbury', not probably beheld 
since the tune when the monastery had been sacked by the 
Danes, the monks within, regardless of all remonstrances, 
shut the door of tlie cathedral, and proceeded to barricade 
it with iron bars.^ A loud knocking was heard from the 
terrified band without, who, having vainly endeavoured to 
prevent the entrance of the knights into the cloister, now 
rushed before them to take refuge in the church. 7 Becket, 
who had stepped some paces into the cathedral, but was re- 
sisting the solicitations of those immediately about him to 
move up into tlie choir for safety, darted back, calling aloud 
as he went, " Away, you cowards ! By virtue of your obedi- 
ence I command you not to shut the door — the church must 
not be turned into a castle." ^ With his own hands he thrust 
them away from the door, opened it himself, and catching 
hold of the excluded monks, dragged them into the building, 
exclaiming, " Come in, come in — faster, faster ! " 9 

At this moment the ecclesiastics who had hitherto clung 
round him fled in every direction ; some to the altars in the 
numerous side chapels, some to the secret chambers with 
which the walls and roof of the cathedral are filled. One of 
tliem has had the rashness to leave on record his o\\'n ex- 

• Gamier, 71, b. 10. ' Anon. Lambeth, xax. Herbert (331) 
■ Gervase, Act Pont., 167a, describes the knocking, but mistakingljr 
' Garnicr, 71 b. la. Supposes it to be the kniglits. 

• Foss's Judges, i. 243. • Garnier, 71, b. ^\- This speech 

• Fitrstcphcii, 300. occurs in all. 

• Herbert, 3ji ; Bcacdict, 65. * Benedict, 65. 

1170.] Entrance of the Knights, Sy 

cessive terror.* Even John of Salisbury, his tried and faith- 
full counsellor, escaped with the rest. Three only remained — 
Robert, canon of Merton, his old instructor ; William Fitz- 
Stephen (if we may believe his own account), his lively and 
worldly-minded chaplain ; and Edward Grim, the Saxon 
monk. 2 William, one of the monks of Canterbury, who has 
recorded his impressions of the scene, confesses that he fled 
with the rest He was not ready to confront martyrdom, 
and, with clasped hands, ran as fast as he could up the 
steps. 3 Two hiding-places had been specially pointed out 
to the Archbishop. One was the venerable crypt of the 
church, with its many dark recesses and chapels, to which a 
door then as now opened immediately from the spot where 
he stood, the other was the chapel of St. Blaise in the roof, 
itself communicating by a gallery with the triforium of the 
cathedral, to which there was a ready access through a stair- 
case cut in the thickness of the wall at the comer of the 
transept* But he positively refused. One last resource 
remained to the staunch companions who stood by him. 
They urged him to ascend to the choir, and hurried him, still 
resisting, up one of the two flights of steps which led thither.s 
They no doubt considered that the greater sacredness of that 
portion of the church would form their best protection. 
Becket seems to have given way, as in leaving the palace, 
from the thought flashing across his mind that he would die 
at his post He would go (such at least was tlie impression 
left on their minds) to the high altar, and perish in the Patri- 
archal Chair, in which he and all his predecessors from time 
immemorial had beeil enthroned.^ But this was not to be. 

WTiat has taken long to describe must have been com- 
pressed in action within a few minutes. The knights who 
had been checked for a moment by the sight of the closed 
door, on seeing it unexpectedly thrown open, rushed into 

' William of Canterbury (in the Win- logla Cantiana, vL 43. 
Chester MS.)' * Fitzstcphen, 301. • Roger, 166. 

• Fitzstephcn, 301. * Anoo. Lambeth, :ax ;Gcr/ase,Chroa. 

• William Cant., published in Archneo- 14 (3- 

88 Transept of " The Martyrdom^ [1170. 

the church. It was, we must remember, about five o'clock 
in a winter evening ; » the shades of night were gathering, 
and were deepened into a still darker gloom within the 
high and massive walls of the vast cathedral, which was 
only illuminated here and there by the solitary lamps burn- 
ing before the altars. The twilight,* lengthening from the 
shortest day a fortnight before, was but just sufhcient to 
reveal the outline of objects. The transept 3 in which the 
knights found themselves is the same as that which — though 
with considerable changes in its arrangements — is still 
known by its ancient name of "The Martyrdom." Two 
staircases led from it, one from the east to the northern 
aisle, one on the west to the entrance of the choir. At its 
south-west corner, where it joined the nave, was the little 
chapel and altar of the Virgin, the especial patroness of the 
Archbishop*. Its eastern apse was formed by two chapels, 
raised one above the other ; the upper in the roof, contain- 
ing the relics of St. Blaise, the first mart}T whose bones had 
been brought into the church, and which gave to the chapel 
a peculiar sanctity ; the lower containing * the altar of St. 
Benedict, under whose rule from the time of Dunstan the 
monastery had been placed Before and around this altar 
were the tombs of four Saxons and two Norman archbishops. 
In the centre of the transept was a pillar, supporting a 
gallery leading to the chapel of St Blaise,^ and hung at 

» " Nox longlsslma bsUbat." Fitz- St. Benedict. 

•tephen,3oi. (4-) The removal of the Chapel of St. 

■ The 29th of December of that year Blaise, 

corresponded (by the change of style) to (5.) The removal of the eastern stau*» 

our 4tli of January. case. 

• Gamier, 74, b. ix : In the two last points, a parallel to the 

*' Pur I'iglise del nort c en Tele del nori, old arrangement may still be foun4 in 

Envers le ncrt suffri li bons sainx the southern transept. 

Thomas mort." * It may be mentioned, as an Instance 

For the ancient arrangements of " the of Hume's well-known inaccuracy, that 

martyrdom," see Willis's Account of Can- he represents Becket as t.-iking refuge 

terbury Cathedral, 18, 40, 71, 96. Tho "in the church of St. Benedict," evi- 

chief changes since that time are : — dcntly thinking, if he thought at all, that 

(i.) The removal of the Lady Cbapel it was a parish-church dedicated to that 

In the Nave. saint. 

(a.) The removal of the central pillar. * Gamier, 73-79, b. 6. Willis's Can- 

(3.) The enlarfement of the Cliapcl of terbury Cathedral, p. 47. 

1170.] Meeting of the Knights and the Archbishop. 89 

great festivals with curtains and draperies. Such was the 
outward aspect, and such the associations, of the scene 
which now, perhaps, opened for the first time on the four 
soldiers. But the darkness, coupled with the eagerness to 
find their victim, would have prevented them from noticing 
anything more than its prominent features. At the moment 
of their entrance the central pillar exactly intercepted their 
view of the Archbishop ascending (as would appear from 
this circumstance) the eastern staircase.^ Fitzurse, with his 
drawn sword in one hand, and the carpenter's axe in the 
other, sprang in first, and turned at once to the right of the 
pillar. The other three went round it to the left. In the 
dim twilight they could just discern a group of figures 
mounting the steps.* One of the knights called out to 
them " Stay." Another, " Where is Thomas Becket, traitor 
to the King ? " No answer was returned. None could 
have been expected by any who remembered the indignant 
silence with which Becket had swept by when the same 
word had been applied by Randulf of Broc at NorthamptoiL^ 
Fitzurse rushed forward, and, stumbling against one of the 
monks, on the lower step,** still not able to distinguish 
clearly in the darkness, exclaimed, " Where is the Arch- 
bishop ? " Instantly the answer came — " Reginald, here I 
am, no traitor, but the Archbishop and Priest of God ; 
what do you wish ? " s — and from the fourth step,^ which he 
had reached in his ascent, with a slight motion of his head — 
noticed apparently as his peculiar manner in moments of 
excitement ^ — Becket descended to the transept. Attired, 
we are told, in his white rochet,^ with a cloak and hood 
thro\vn over his shoulders, he thus suddenly confronted his 
assailants. Fitzurse sprang back two or three paces, and 
Becket passing' by him took up his station between the 

* Gamier, 72, 10. " Gamier, 72, 11. • Cervase. Act. Pont., 1673. 

• Roger, 142. ' As in his Interview with the Abbot of 

* Gamier, 73, 74. St. Albans, at Harrow. See p. 65. 

• Cenrasci Act Pont., 167a ; Gamier, • Grandison, c. 9. 

Ta. 15. * Grim, 75 i Roger, 166. 

90 The Struggle, [117a 

central pillar ' and the massive wall which still fomis the 
south-west comer of what was then the chapel of Sl Bene- 
dict' Here they gathered round him, with the cry, " Ab- 
solve the bishops whom you have excommunicated." " I 
cannot do other than I have done," he replied, and turnings 
to Fitzurse, he added — " Reginald, you have received many 
favours at my hands ; why do you come into my church 
armed ? " Fitzurse planted the axe against his breast, and 
returned 'for answer, "You shall die — I will tear out your 
heart."^ Another, perhaps in kindness, striking him between 
the shoulders with the flat of his sword, exclaimed, " Fly ; 
you are a dead man." 3 "I am ready to die," replied the 
Primate, " for God and the Church ; but I warn you, I curse 
you in the name of God Almighty, if you do not let my 
men escape." ^ 

The well-known horror which in that age was felt at an 
act of sacrilege, together with the sight of the crowds who 
were ^ rushing in from the town through the nave, turned 
their efforts for the next few moments to carry him out of 
the church.^ Fitzurse threw doAMi the axe,' and tried to 
drag him out by the collar of his long cloak,^° calling "Come 
with us — you are our prisoner." *' I will not fly, you detest- 
able fellow,"" was Becket's reply, roused to his usual vehe- 
mence, and wrenching the cloak out of Fitzurse's grasp." 
The three knights, to whom was now added Hugh Mauclerc, 
chaplain of Robert de Broc,'3 struggled violently to put him 
on Tracy's shoulders.'* Becket set his back against the 
pillar,'5 and resisted with all his might, whilst Grim,'^ vehe- 
mently remonstrating, threw his arms around him to aid his 
efforts. In the scuflfle Becket fastened upon Tracy, shook 

• Roger, 166. • Grim, 76; Roger, i56. 

■ Willis's Canterbury, 41. It wasaA»> • Fiustephen, 302 ; Benedict, 88. 

wards preserved purposely. ** Garnier, 7a, ao, 30. 

• Gamier, 7a, 20. " " Vir abominabilis." Gervase, Act. 
•Grim, 79; Anon. Pas^Io Qu!nta, Pont., 1673. " Gamier, 73, a r. 

176. • Grim, 75, 76 ; Roger, 166. '* Roger, 166 ; Gamier, 71. 

• Herbeit, 338 ; Garnier, 7a, b. 25 ; '* Roger, 166. 

Fitistephen, 30a ; Grim, 76 ; Roger, 166. " G-imier, 7a, 73, b. 5 ; Grim, 75. 

• Afioo. Lounb., 12a ; Fitzstephen, 30a. '* Fiustephen, 30a ; Gamier, 73, b. 6> 

1170.] The Murder, 91 

him by his coat of mall, and exerting his great strength, 
flung him down on the pavement* It was hopeless to 
cany on the attempt to remove him. And in the final 
struggle which now began, Fitzurse, as before, took the 
lead. But, as he approached with his drawn sword, the 
sight of him kindled afresh the Archbishop's anger, now 
heated by the fray ; the spirit of the chancellor rose within 
him, and with a coarse ' epithet, not calculated to turn 
away his adversary's wrath, exclaimed, "You profligate 
wretch, you are my man — you have done me fealty — you 
ought not to touch me." 3 Fitzurse, glowing all over with 
rage, retorted — " I owe you no fealty or homage, contrary 
to my fealty to the King," ^ and waving the sword over his 
head, cried " Strike, strike ! " (" Ferez, ferez "), but merely 
dashed off his cap. The Archbishop covered his eyes with 
his joined hands, bent his neck, and said,5 " I commend my 
cause and the cause of the Church to God, to St Denys the 
mart}T of France, to St Alfege, and to the saints of the 
Church." Meanwhile Tracy, who, since his fall, had thro"WTi 
off his hauberk ^ to move more easily, sprang forward, and 
struck a more decided blow. Grim, who up to this moment 
had his arm round Becket, threw it up, wrapped in a cloak, 
to intercept the blade, Becket exclaiming, "Spare this 
defence." The sword lighted on the arm of the monk, 
which fell wounded or broken ; ^ and he fled disabled to the 

* Benedict, t^ ; Roger, 166 ; Gervase, Becket's language was well known. His 
Act Pont., 1 173 ; Herbert, 331 ; Gamier, nsual name for Geoffry Riddell, Arch- 
72, b. 30. All but Herbert and Gamier deacon of Canterbury, was Arch-dtviL 
believe this to have been Fitzurse, but Anselm, the king's brother, he called a 
the reference of Herbert to Tracy's con- "catamite and bastard." 

fcssion is decisive. * Grim, 66. 

* •* Lenonem appellans," Roger, 167; * Grim, 66; Roger, 167; Gamier, 73, 
Grim, 66. It is t>»is part of the narrative b. 11. 

that was »o ingeniously, and, it must be " Gamier, 73, 25. These are In several 
confessed, not altogether without justice, of the accounts made his last words 
selected as the ground of the official (Roger, 167 ; Alan, 336, and Addit. to 
account of Becket's death, published by John of Salisbury, 376) ; but this is doubt- 
King Henry VIII., and representing him less the moment when they were spoken. 
as having fallen in a scuffle with the * Gamier, 73, b. 1. 
knights, in which he and they were ' Gamier, 73, b. 18. The words In 
Mjuall/ aggressors. The violence of which this act is described in almost all 

92 The Murder, [il70. 

nearest altar,' probably that of St Benedict within the chapeL 
It is a proof of the confusion of the scene, that Grim the 
receiver of the blow, as well as most of the narrators, be- 
lieved it to have been dealt by Fitzurse, while Tracy, who is 
known to have been' the man from his subsequent boast, 
believed that the monk whom he had wounded was John of 
Salisbury. The spent force of the stroke descended on 
Becket's head, grazed the crown, and finally rested on his 
left shoulder,3 cutting through the clothes and skin. The 
next blow, whether struck by Tracy or Fitzurse, was only 
with the flat of the sword, and again on the bleeding head,* 
which Becket drew back as if stunned, and then raised his 
clasped hands above it. The blood from the first blow was 
trickling doAvn his face in a thin streak ; he wiped it with 
his arm, and when he saw the stain, he said — " Into thy 
hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit" At the third blow, 
which was also from Tracy, he sank on his knees — his arms 
falling — but his hands still joined as if in prayer. With his 
face turned towards the altar of St. Benedict, he murmured 
in a low voice, which might just have been caught by the 
wounded Grim,5 who was crouching close by, and who alone 
reports the words — "For the name of Jesus, and the defence 
of the Church, I am willing to die." Without moving hand 
or foot,^ he fell flat on his face as he spoke, in front of the 
comer wall of the chapel, and with such dignity that his 

the chronicles have given rise to a ««rious that Becket's cause was that of the Saxont 

mistake : — " Brachium Edwardl Grim against the Normans represents him as 

frre abscldit." By running together remonstrating against the Primate's ac- 

these two words, later writers have pro- quiescence in the Constitutions of Cla- 

ducfld the name of " Grimfcre.'' Many rendon. The real cross-bearer, who so 

similar confusions will occur to classical remonstrated (Alan of Tewkesbury, I. 340) 

scholars. In most of the mcdia:val pic- was not a Saxon, but a Welshman (se« 

tures of the murder, Grim is represented Robertson, 335). 

as the cross-bearer, which is an error. ' Will. Cant., 3a. 

Grandison alone speaks of Grim, "rww "Will. Cant., 33; Fitxslephcn, 30*; 

cruet" The acting cross-bearer, Henry Garnicr, 73, b. 17. 

of Auxcrre, had doubtless fled. Another * Gamier, 73, b. 8. 

error respecthig Grim has been propa- * Will. Cant., 3a ; Grim, 66. 

gated in much later times by Thierry, * Grim, 66. 

who, for the sake of supporting his theory • Ccrvase, Chroo., 2466. 


The Murder, 


mantle, which extended from head to foot, was not dis- 
arranged. In this posture he received from Richard the 
Breton a tremendous blow, accompanied with the exclama- 
tion (in allusion to a quarrel of Becket \\^th Prince William) 
"Take this for love of my lord William, brother of the 
King." ^ The stroke was aimed with such violence that the 
scalp or crown of the head * — ^which, it was remarked, was 
of unusual size — was severed from the skull, and the sword 
snapt in two on the marble pavement. 3 The fracture of the 
murderous weapon was reported by one of the eye-witnesses 
as a presage of the ultimate discomfiture of the Archbishop's 
enemies.'* Hugh of Horsea, the subdeacon who had joined 
them as they entered the church, s taunted by the others 

' Fitzstephen, 303. 

■ Grim, 77 ; Roger, 167 ; Passio 
Quinta, 177. Great stress was laid on 
this, as having been the part of his head 
which had received the sacred oil (John 
of Salisbury, 376). There was a dream, by 
which he was said to have been troubled 
at Pontigny— -curious, as in some respects 
10 singularly unlike, in others so singu- 
larly like, his actual fate. He was at 
Rome, pleading his cause before the 
Pope and cardinals ; the adverse cardinals 
rushed at him with a shout that drowned 
the remonstrances of the Pope, and tried 
to pluck out his eyes with their fingers, 
then vanished, and were succeeded by a 
band of savage men, who struck off his 
scalp, so that it fell over his forehead 
(Grim, 58). 

• Benedict, 66. For the pavement 
being marble, see Benedict, 66, and Gar- 
nicr, 79, b. 19. Baronius (vol. xix. p. 379) 
calU it " lapideum pavimentum." A spot 
is still shown in Canterbury Cathedral, 
with a square piece of stone said to have 
been inserted in the stone pavement in 
the place of a portion taken out and sent 
to Rome. That the spot so marked is 
precisely the place where Becket fell is 
proved by its exact accordance with the 
localities so minutely descrilied in the 
several narratives. But whether the flag- 
•tones now remaining are really the same, 

must remain in doubt The piece said 
to have been sent to Rome, I ascertained, 
after diligent inquiry, to be no longer in 
existence ; and Mr. Robertson has clearly 
pointed out that the passage quoted, in 
earlier editions of this work, from Baro- 
nius (vol xix. p. 371) in proof of the 
story, has no bearing upon it ; and also 
that the tradition respecting it at Canter- 
bury cannot be traced beyond the begin- 
ning of this century. Another story 
states that Benedict, when appointed 
Abbot of Peterborough in 1x77, being 
vexed at finding that his predecessor 
had pawned or sold the relics of the 
abbey, returned to Canterbury, and car- 
ried off, amongst other memorials of St. 
Thomas, the stones of the pavement 
which had been sprinkled with his blood, 
and had two altars made from them for 
Peterborough Cathedral. Still, as the 
whole floor must have been flooded, he 
may have removed only those adjacent 
to the flagstone from which the piece was 
tikcn — a supposition with wliich the pre- 
sent appearance of the flagstone remark- 
ably corresponds. 

• Will. Cant. (Arch. Cant. vl. 42). 

• Benedict (66) ascribes this to Brito ; 
the anonymous Passio Quinta (177) to 
Fitzurse ; Herbert {345) and Grandison 
(iv. i) to Robert de Broc. llie rest to 

94 Plunder of the Palace, [ll70t 

with having taken no share in the deed, planted his foot on 
the neck of the corpse, thrust his sword into the ghastly 
wound, and scattered the brains over the pavement — " Let 
us go — let us go," he said in conclusion, " The traitor is 
dead ; he will rise no more." * 

This was the final act. One only of the four knights 
had struck no blow. Hugh de Moreville throughout re- 
tained the gentler disposition for which he was distinguished, 
and contented himself with holding back at the entrance of 
the transept the crowds who were pouring in through the nave.' 

The murderers rushed out of the church, through the 
cloisters, into the palace. Tracy, in a confession made 
long aftenvards to Bartholomew, Bishop of Exeter, said that 
their spirits, which had before been raised to the highest 
pitch of excitement, gave way when the deed was perpe- 
trated, and that they retired with trembling steps, expecting 
the earth to open and swallow them up.3 Such, however, 
was not their outward demeanour, as it was recollected by 
the monks of the place. With a savage burst of triumph 
they ran shouting, as if in battle, the watchword of the kings 
of England < — *' The king's men, the king's men ! " — wound- 
ing, as they went, a servant of the Archdeacon of Sens for 
lamenting the murdered prelate.s Robert de Eroc, as 
knowing the palace, had gone before to take possession of 
the private apartments. There they broke open the bags 
and coffers, and seized many papal bulls, charters,^ and 
other documents, which Randolph de Broc sent to the 
King. They then traversed the whole of the palace, plun- 
dering gold and silver vases ; ^ the magnificent vestments 
and utensils employed in the sen-ices of the church ; the 
furniture and books of the chaplains' rooms ; and, lastly, the 
horses from the stables, on which Becket had prided him- 

* Fjtistephen, 303 ; Roger, a68 ; Bene- 168 ; Fitzstephen, 305. 

diet, 67 : Gamier, 74, 75. • Fitistephen, 305. See Ducange i» 

' Roger, toS ; Grim, 77 ; Gamier, 74, voce', Robertson, p. 28a. 

II. • Herbert, 351 ; Grandison, c 9. * Gamier, 74 5. 

• Gamier, 74, b. i ; Grim, 79 ; Roger, * Fiustephcn, 305. 

1170.] TJte Storm, 95 

self to the last, and on which they rode off.* The amount 
of plunder was estimated by Fitzstephen at 2000 marks. 
To their great surprise they found two haircloths among 
the effects of the Archbishop, and threw them away. As 
the murderers left the cathedral, a tremendous storm of 
thunder and rain burst over Canterbury, and the night fell 
in thick darkness * upon the scene of the dreadful deed. 

The crowd was every instant increased by the multitudes 
flocking in from the town on the tidings of the event. 
There was still at that moment, as in his lifetime, a strong 
division of feeling, and Grim overheard even one of the 
monks declare that the Primate had paid a just penalty for 
his obstinacy,3 and was not to be lamented as a martyr. 
Others said, " He wished to be king, and more than king 
— let him be king, let him be king."^ Whatever horror was 
expressed, was felt (as in the life-long remorse of Robert 
Bruce for the slaughter of the Red Comyn in the Church 
of Dumfries) not at the murder, but at the sacrilege. 

At last, however, the cathedral was cleared, and the 
gates shut; 5 and for a time the body lay entirely deserted. 
It was not till the night had quite closed in, that Osbert, 
the chamberlain ^ of the Archbishop, entering with a light, 
found the corpse lying on its face,7 the scalp hanging by a 
piece of skin : he cut off a piece of his shirt to bind up the 
frightful gash. The doors of the cathedral were again 
opened, and the monks returned to the spot Then, for 
the first time, they ventured to give way to their grief, and 
a loud lamentation resounded through the stillness of the 
night. When they turned the body with its face upwards 
all were struck by the calmness and beauty of the coun- 
tenance : a smile still seemed to play on the features — the 
colour on the cheeks was fresh — and the eyes were closed 
as if in sleep.^ The top of the head, wound round with 

* Herbert, 352. • Fitzstephen, 304. * Will. Cant., 33. The same .nppcar- 

• Grim, 79, 80. • Benedict, 67, anccs are described on the subsc'iuent 

• Roger, 169. • FitZbtci^heo, 305. morning, in Herbert, 358 ; Grandiion, 

* GraDdisen, Iv- i. c. 9. 

96 The Dead Body. [1170. 

Osbert's shirt, was bathed in blood, but the face was marked 
only by one faint streak that crossed the nose from the 
right temple to the left cheek.' Underneath the body they 
found the axe which Fitzurse had thro^vn down, and a small 
iron hammer, brought, apparently, to force open the door ; 
close by were lying the two fragments of Le Bret's broken 
sword, and the Archbishop's cap, which had been struck off 
in the beginning of the fray. All these they carefully pre- 
served. The blood, which, with the brains, was scattered 
over the pavement, they collected and placed in vessels ; 
and as the enthusiasm of the hour increased, the bystanders, 
who already began to esteem him a martyr, cut off pieces 
of their clothes to dip in the blood, and anointed their eyes 
with it The cloak and outer pelisse, which were rich with 
sanguinary stains, were given to the poor — a proof of the 
imperfect apprehension as yet entertained of the value of 
these relics, which a few years aftenvards would have been 
literally worth their weight in gold, and which were now 
sold for some trifling sum.' 

After tying up the head with clean linen, and fastening 
the cap over it, they placed the body on a bier, and carried 
it up the successive flight of steps which led from the tran- 
sept through the choir — "the glorious choir," as it was 
called, "of Conrad" — to the high altar in front of which 
they laid it do^vn. The night was now far advanced, but 
the choir was usually lighted — and probably, therefore, on 
this great occasion — by a chandelier with twenty-four wax 
tapers. Vessels were placed underneath the body to catch 
any drops of blood that mights fall, and the monks sat 
weeping around.* The aged Robert, canon of Merton, the 
earliest friend and instructor of Becket, and one of the 
three who had remained with him to the last, consoled 
them by a narration of the austere life of the martyred pre- 

• Benedict, 6S ; or (as Robert of GIou- of Bcclcet were often recognised. 

ce'Jter states it), " from the left half of • Benedict, 68. 

his forehead to the left half of his chin." " Benedict, 69. 

By this nuu-1:, the subsequent app.'uitions * Roger, 168. 

1170.] Discovery of the Haircloth, 97 

late, which hitherto had been only known to himself, as the 
confessor of the Primate, and to Brun the valet' In proof 
of it he thrust his hand under the garments, and showed 
the monk's habit and haircloth shirt, which he wore next 
to his skin. This was the one thing wanted to raise the 
enthusiasm of the bystanders to the highest pitch. Up to 
that moment there had been a jealousy of the elevation of 
the gay chancellor to the Archbishopric of Canterbury. 
The primacy involved the abbacy of the cathedral monastery, 
and the primates therefore had been, with two exceptions, 
always chosen from some monastic society. The fate of 
these two had, we are told, weighed heavily on Becket's 
mind. One was Stigand, the last Saxon Archbishop, who 
ended his life in a dungeon, after the Conquest ; the other 
was Elsey, who had been appointed in opposition to Dunstan, 
and who, after having triumphed over his predecessor Odo 
by dancing on his grave, was overtaken by a violent snow- 
storm in passing the Alps, and, in spite of the attempts to re- 
suscitate him by plunging his feet in the bowels of his horse, 
was miserably frozen to death. Becket himself, it was 
beheved, had immediately after his consecration received, 
from a mysterious " apparition, an awful warning against ap- 
pearing in the choir of the cathedral in his secular dress as 
chancellor. It now for the first time appeared that, though 
not formerly a monk, he had virtually become one by his 
secret austerities. The transport of the fraternity, on finding 
that he had been one of themselves, was beyond all bounds. 
They burst at once into thanksgivings, which resounded 
through the choir; fell on their knees; kissed the hands and 
feet of the corpse, and called him by the name of " Saint 
Thomas," 3 by which, from that time forward he was so long 
known to the European world. At the sound of the shout 
of joy there was a general rush to the choir, to see the saint 

' Fitzstephen, 308. iccretly assumed the monastic dresi oa 

• Grim, 16. Another version, current the day of his consecration (Ant. Cant., 
after hit death, represented him as having vii. 313). * Fiustepheo, 308. 

98 TJie Aurora Borealis. [ll70. 

in sackcloth who had hitherto been kno\^Ti as the chancellor 
in purple and fine linen.^ A new enthusiasm was kindled by 
the spectacle : Arnold, a monk, who was goldsmith to the 
monastery, was sent back, with others, to the transept to 
collect in a basin any vestiges of the blood and brains, now 
become so precious ; and benches were placed across the 
spot, to prevent its being desecrated by the footsteps of the 
crowd.' This perhaps was the moment that the great ardour 
of the citizens first began for washing their hands and eyes 
with the blood. One instance of its application gave rise to 
a practice which became the distinguishing characteristic of 
all fhe subsequent pilgrimages to the shrine. A citizen of 
Canterbury dipped a comer of his shirt in the blood, went 
home, and gave it, mixed in water, to his wife, who was 
paralytic, and who was said to have been cured. This sug- 
gested the notion of mixing the blood with water, which, 
endlessly diluted, was kept in innumerable vials, to be dis- 
tributed to the pilgrims ; 3 and thus, as the palm *> was a sign 
of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and a scallop-shell of the 
pilgrimage to Compostella, so a leaden vial or bottle sus- 
pended from the neck became the mark of a pilgrimage to 

[Dec 30.] Thus passed the night, and it is not surprising 
that in s the red glare of an aurora borealis, which, after the 
stormy evening, lighted up the midnight sky, the excited 
populace, like that at Rome after the murder of Rossi, should 
fancy that they saw the blood of the martyr go up to heaven ; 
or that, as the wax lights sank dovNii in the cathedral, and 
the first streaks of the grey winter morning broke through 
the stained windows of Conrad's choir, the monks who sate 
round the corpse should imagine that the right arm of the 
dead man was slowly raised in the sign of the cross, as if to 
bless his faithful followers.^ 

* Fiustephcn, y>8 ; Gcrvasc, Chron , * Garnier, 78, b. 16 ; Anon. Lambeth, 
I416. p- 134. * Fiustcphcn, 304. 

■ Fitxstephen, 308. * Anon. Passio Tcrtu, 156 ; Hovo- 

* Fiustephen, 309. den, 39^ 

1170.] Unwrapping of the Corpse, 99 

Early in the next day a rumour or message came to the 
monks that Robert de Broc forbade them to bury the body 
among the tombs of the archbishops, and that he threatened 
to drag it out, hang it on a gibbet, tear it with horses, cut it 
to pieces,' or throw it in some pond or sink to be devoured 
by swine or birds of prey, as a fit portion for the corpse of 
his master's enemy. " Had St. Peter so dealt with the 
King," he said, "by the body of St. Denys, if J had been 
there I would have driven my sword into his skull."* They 
accordingly closed 3 the doors, which apparently had re- 
mained open through the night to admit the populace, and 
determined to bury the corpse in the crypt. Thither they 
carried it, and in that venerable vault proceeded to their 
mournful task, assisted by the Abbot of Boxley and the 
Prior * of Dover, who had come to advise with the Arch- 
bishop about the vacancy of the Priory at Canterbury. s A 
discussion seems to have taken place whether the body 
should be washed, according to the usual custom, which 
ended in their removing the clothes for the purpose. The 
mass of garments m which he was wrapt is almost incredible, 
and appears to have been worn chiefly for the sake of 
warmth, and in consequence of his naturally chilly tempera- 
ment^ First, there was the large brown mantle, with white 
fringes of wool ; below this there was a white surplice, and 
again below this a white fur garment of lamb's wool. Next 
these were two short woollen pelisses, which were cut off with 
knives and given away, and under these the black cowled 
garment of the Benedictine ^ order and the shirt ^ without 
sleeves or fringe, that it might not be visible on the outside. 
The lowermost covering was the haircloth, which had been 
made of unusual roughness, and within the haircloth was a 

* Fitzstephen, 309 ; Anon. Lambeth, chaplain, and his surrcessor In the pri- 
134; Benedict, 69; Roger, 1C8 ; Her- macy. Matt. Paris, Hist. 127 j Vit. Abb. 
bcrt, 327 ; Grim, 81 ; Garaier, 76, b. z. St. A., 16, 91. 

■ Garnier, 76, b. 7. • Fitzstephen, 309. 

* Cervasc, Chron., 1417. • Garnier, 77, i. 

* The Prior of Dover was no less a * Matt. Pari*, 104. 

persoa than Richard, the Archbishop's * Garoicr, 77 ; Herbert, 330. 

100 Discovery of the Vermin, [1170. 

warning* letter he had received on the night of the 27th. 
The existence of the austere garb had been pointed out on 
the previous night by Robert of Merton ; but as they pro- 
ceeded in their task their admiration increased. The hair- 
cloth encased the whole body, down to the knees ; the hair 
drawers," as well as the rest of the dress, being covered on 
the outside with white linen, so as to escape observation; and 
the whole so fastened together as to admit of being readily 
taken off for his daily scourgings, of which yesterday's por- 
tion was still apparent in the stripes on his body. 3 The 
austerity of hair drawers, close fitted as they were to the 
bare flesh, had hitherto been unknown to English saints, 
and the marvel was increased by the sight * — to our notions 
so revolting — of the innumerable vennin with which the 
haircloth abounded — boiling over with them, as one account 
describes it, like water s in a simmering cauldron. At 
the dreadful sight all the enthusiasm of the previous night 
revived with double ardour. They looked at each other in 
silent wonder ; then exclaimed, " See, see what a true monk 
he was, and we knew it not ; " and burst into alternate fits 
of weeping and laughter, between the sorrow of having lost 
such a head, and the joy of having found such a saint.* 
The discovery of so much mortification, combined with the 
more prudential reasons for hastening the funeral, induced 
them to abandon the thought of washing a corpse already, 
as it was thought, sufliciently sanctified, and they at once 
proceeded to lay it out for burial. 

Over the haircloth, linen shirt, monk's cowl, and linen 
hose,7 they put first the dress in which he was consecrated, 
and which he had himself desired to be preserved * — namely, 
the alb, super-humeral, chrismatic, mitre, stole, and maniple; 
and over these, according to the usual custom in archiepis- 

• Fitistephcn, 203 ; Roger, i6o^JBea*> •-J'assio Qulnu, i6t. 

diet, 20. v^^'^^^TxT' OF 5'^'^"' "^^ ; Garnier, 77, b. 3a. 

• Gamier, 77, 40. >^,-^';'> V^., * Flttstcpbcn \ Benedict, 70; Matt. 

• Anon. Passio TcrtiA, itj^p y'"""^ Paris, 124. ^ 

• Roger, 169; Fiu^jphW'309,e-j-_ NriCH;S^ 

1170.] Burial in the Crypt, lOi 

copal funerals, the Archbishop's insignia — namely, the tunic, 
dalmatic, chasuble, the pall with its pins, the chalice, the 
gloves, the rings, the sandals, and the pastoral staffs — all of 
which, being probably kept in the treasury of the cathedral, 
were accessible at the moment. The ring which he actually 
wore at the time of his death, with a green gem^ set in it, 
was taken off. Thus arrayed, he was laid by the monks in 
a new marble sarcophagus 3 which stood in the ancient 
crypt,^ at the back of the shrine of the Virgin, betvveen^the 
altars of St. Augustine and St. John the Baptist, s the first 
Archbishop as it was observed, and tlie bold opponent of a 
wicked king. The remains of the blood and brains were 
placed outside the tomb, and the doors of the crypt closed 
against all entrance.^ No mass was said over the Arch- 
bishop's grave ; ^ for from the moment that anned men had 
entered, the church was supposed to have been desecrated ; 
the pavement of the cathedral^ was taken up; the bells 
ceased to ring ; the walls were divested of their hangings ; 
the crucifixes were veiled ; the altars stripped, as in Passion 
Week ; and the services were conducted without chanting 9 
in the chapter-house. This desolation continued till the 
next year, when Odo the Prior, with the monks, took advan- 
tage of the arrival of the Papal legates, who came to make 
full inquiry into the murder, and requested their influence 
with the bishops to procure a re-consecration. The task 
was intrusted '° to the Bishops of Exeter and Chester ; and 

* Fitzstephen, 309. next fifty years ; but the spot Is still 
" This, with a knife, and various por- ascertainable, behind the Chapel of " Our 

tions of the dress, were preserved in the Lady Undercroft," and underneath what 

treasury of Glastonbury (John of Glaston- is now the Trinity Chapel, 

bury, ed. Hcam, p. aS). • Gervase, Chron., 1417. 

• Grim, 82 ; benedict, 70 ; Gervase, ' Fitzstcphen, 310 ; Matt. Paris, 125 ; 
Chron., 1417. Diccto, 338. 

* Benedict, 70 ; DIceto (Addit. ad * Diceto (558) speaks of the dirt of 
Alan.), 377 ', Matt. Paris, 124. the pavement from the crowd who trod it 

• Fitzstcphen, 309 ; Crandison, c. 9 ; with dusty and muddy feet. M. Paris, 
Gervase, Act. Pont., 1673. (Gervase was 126. 

present) Alan. 339 ; M. Paris, 125 ; • Gervase, Chron., 1417. 

Gami<:r, 75. The arrangem'.nti of this " Gervase, 1421. Chester then was th* 

part of the crypt were altered witliin the teat of the see of Lichfield. 

102 Canonisation, [il7L 

on the 2 1 St of December, the Feast of St Thomas the 
Apostle, 1 1 71 (the day of St Thomas of Canterbury was 
not yet authorised), Baxtliolomew, Bishop of Exeter, again 
celebrated mass, and preached a sermon on the text, " For 
the multitude of the sorrows that I had in my heart, thy 
comforts have refreshed my souL" * 

Within three years the popular enthusiasm was confirmed 
by the highest authority of the Church. The Archbishop 
of York had, some time after the murder, ventured to de- 
clare that Becket had perished, like Pharaoh, in his pride, and 
the government had endeavoured to suppress the miracles. 
But the Papal court, vacillating, and often unfriendly in his 
lifetime, now lent itself to confer the highest honours on his 
martyrdom.* On the very day of the murder some of the 
Canterbury monks had embarked to convey their own ver- 
sion of it to the Pope.3 In 1172 legates were sent by Alex- 
ander III. to investigate the alleged miracles, and they 
carried back to Rome the tunic stained with blood, and a 
piece of the pavement on which the brains were scattered — 
relics which were religiously deposited in the Basilica of Sta. 
Maria Maggiore.* In 11 73 a Council was called at West- 
minster to hear letters read from the Pope, authorising the 
invocation of the mart}T as a saint All the bishops who 
had opposed him were present, and after begging pardon for 
their offence, expressed their acquiescence in the decision 
of the Pope. In the course of the same year, on Ash 
Wednesday, the 21st of Februar}',5 he was regularly canon- 
ised, and the 29th of December was set apart as the Feast 
of St Thomas of Canterbury. His sister Mary was ap- 
pointed Abbess of Barking.^ 

* M. Paris, 125. Eartholomcw's tomb * Florence of Worcester, 153. 

may be seen in the Lady Chapel of * Matt Paris, 126. At this Council 

Exeter CalhedraL took place, between Roger of York and 

" Milman's Lat. Oiristianity, III. 53a. Richard of Canterbuiy, the scene already 

* Ant. Cant., vii. a 16. mentioned (p. 63). Roger nearly lost his 

* Baromus, xix. -596. A fragment of life under the sticks and fists of the opp>o- 
the tunic, and small blue b.igssaid to con- site party, who shouted out, as he rose 
tjiin portions of the brain, are still shown from the ground with crushed mitre and 
in the reliquary of this church. torn cope, "Away, away, traitor of Si. 

1173.] Escape of tJie Murderers, 103 

A wooden altar, which remained unchanged through 
the subsequent alterations and increased magnificence of the 
Cathedral, was erected on the site of the murder, in front of 
the ancient stone wall of SL Benedict's ChapeL It was this 
which gave rise to the mistaken tradition, repeated in books, 
in pictures, and in sculptures, that the Primate was slain whilst 
praying at the altar.* The crypt in which the body had been 
lain so hastily and secretly became the most sacred spot in the 
church, and, even after the "translation" of the relics, in 1220, 
continued to be known down to the time of the Reformation 
as " Becket's Tomb." * The subsequent history of those 
sacred spots must be reserved for a separate consideration. 

It remains for us now to follow the fate of the murderers. 
[11 70. Dec. 30.] On the night of the deed the four knights 
rode to Saltwood, leaving Robert de Broc in possession of 
the palace, whence, as we have seen, he brought or sent 
the threatening message to the monks on the morning of 
the 30th. They vaunted their deeds to each other, and it 
was then that Tracy claimed the glory of having wounded 
John of Salisbury. [Dec. 31.] The next day they rode forty 
miles by the sea-coast to South-Mailing, an archiepiscopal 
manor near Lewes. On entering the house, they threw oif 
their arms and trappings on the large dining table which 
stood in the hall, and after supper gathered round the blazing 
hearth ; suddenly the table started back, and threw its burden 
on the ground- The attendants, roused by the crash, rushed 
in with lights and replaced the arms. But soon a second still 
louder crash was heard, and the various articles were thrown 
still further off. Soldiers and servants with torches searched 

Thomas— thy hands still reck with his within the chapel of St. Benedict. 3. This 

blood 1" Anglia Sacra, i. 72; (Gcrvase, altar is again transformed into tlie High 

1433). Altar ; and 4. In these successive changes 

' The gradual growth of the story Is the furious altercation is converted into 

curious : — 1. The posthumous altar of the an assault on a meek unprepared wor- 

martyrdora is represented as standing shipper, kneeling before the altar, 

there at the time of his death, a. Ttiis * See Cough's Sepulchral Monuments, 

altar is next ccofounded with the altar i. 36. 

104 Legend of their DcatJis, [li7l. 

in vain under the solid table to find the cause of its convul- 
sions, till one of the conscience-stricken knights suggested 
that it was indignantly refusing to bear the sacrilegious burden 
of their arms. So ran the popular story ; and as late as the 
fourteenth century it was still shown in the same place — the 
earliest and most memorable instance of a "rapping," "leap- 
ing," and " turning table." ' From South-Malhng they pro- 
ceeded to Knarcsborough Castle, a royal fortress then in the 
possession of Hugh de Moreville, where they remained for a 
year.* The local tradition still points out the hall where they 
fled for refuge, and the vaulted prison where they were con- 
fined after their capture. 

From this moment they disappear for a time in the black 
cloud of legend with which the monastic historians have en- 
veloped their memory. Dogs, it was said, refused to eat the 
crumbs that fell from their table. 3 One of them in a fit of 
madness killed his own son.'* Sent by the king to Scotland, 
they were driven back by the Scottish Court to England, 
and, but for the terror of Henry's name, would have been 
hanged on gibbets. 5 Struck with remorse, they went to 
Rome to receive the sentence of Pope Alexander IH., and 
by him were sent to expiate their sins by a military service c^ 
fourteen ^ years, in the Holy Land. I^Ioreville, Fitzursc, and 
Brito — so the story continues — after three years' fighting, 
died, and were buried, according to some accounts, in front 
of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, or of the Templars at 
Jenisalem; according to others, in front of the church of " the 
Black Mountain," i with an inscription on their graves, — 

** Hie jacent miscri qui martyrisaverunt 
Bcatum Thomam Archiepiscopum Cantuariensem." 

Grandison, Iv. i. " Monstratur Ibi- ' Baronhis, xix. 399. The legend 

dem ipsa tabula in memoriam mirac\ili h.irdly aims at probabilities. The 

conservata." See also Giraldus, in Wliar- "Church of the Black Mountain" may 

ton's Anglia Sacra, 425. possibly be a mountain so called in Lan- 

* I'rompton, 1064 ; Diceto, 557. guedoc, near the Abbey of St. Papoul. 

* Brompton, 1064 ; Hovedrn, 299. The front of the Church of the Holy 

* PaKio Tertia. Giles, vol. ii. p. 157. Sepulchre is, and always must have been, 
' Ant. Cant., vii. ai8. a square of public resort to all the pil- 

* Ibid., 319. grims of the world, where no tombs either 

1171.] Legend of tJieir Deatlis, 105 

Tracy alone, It was said, was never able to accomplish 
his vow. The crime of having struck the first blow ' was 
avenged by the winds of heaven, which always drove him 
back. According to one story, he never left England. Ac- 
cording to another, and, as we shall see, more correct version, 
ne reached the coast of Calabria, and was then seized at 
Cosenza with a dreadful disorder, which caused him to 
tear his flesh from his bones with his own hands, calling, 
" Mercy, St. Thomas," and there he died miserably, after 
having made his confession to the bishop of the place. His 
fate was long remembered among his descendants in Glou- 
cestershire, and gave rise to the distich that — • 

*' The Tracys 
Have always the wind in their faces. " 

Another version of the story, preserved in the traditions of 
Flanders, was as follows. Immediately after the murder, they 
lost all sense of taste and smell. The Pope ordered them 
to wander through the world, never sleeping two nights 
in the same place, till both senses were recovered. In 
their travels they arrived at Cologne, and when wine was 
poured out for them in the inn, they perceived its taste 
(smacke) ; it seemed to them sweeter than honey — and they 
cried out " O blessed Cologne." They went on to Mechlin, 
and as they passed through the town, they met a woman, 
carrying a basket of newly-baked bread, — they " found the 
smell " (rueck) of it, and cried, " O holy Mechlin." Great 
were the benefits heaped by the Pope on these two towns, 
when he heard of it The brothers (so they are styled in 
the Mechlin tradition) built huts for themselves under the 
walls of the church of St. Rumold, the patron saint of Mechlin, 
and died there. Over their grave, written on the outer wall 
of the circular chapel of St. Rumold, now destroyed, was 

of murderer or saint could have ever been very Improbable. Nothing of the kind 

placed. The Church of the Templars now exists on cither spot. 
wa« "the Mosque of the Rock," and the ' "Primus percussor," BaronJus, xix. 

front was the sacred pl;ttform of the sane- p. 399. See Robert of Gloucester, \y»\* 

tuary— a less imposiible place, but still 1331 ; Fuller's Worthies, 357. 

io6 Their Real History, 

the following epitaph : — Rychardus Brito, neaion Morialiui 
Hugo ; GuilJielmus Tracts Reginaldus filius Ursi : Thomam 
martyr ium suhire feccre primatem. * 

Such is the legend. The real facts, so far as we can 
ascertain them, are in some respects curiously at variance 
with it, — in other respects, no less curiously confirm it On 
the one hand, the general fate of the murderers was far less 
terrible than the popular tradition delighted to believe. It 
would seem that, by a singular reciprocity, the principle for 
which Becket had contended — that priests should not be 
subjected to secular courts — prevented the trial of a layman 
for the murder of a priest by any other than by a clerical 
tribunal.* The consequence was, that the perpetrators of 
what was thought the most heinous crime since tlie Cruci- 
fixion could be visited with no other penalty than excommuni- 
cation. That tliey should have performed a pilgrimage to 
Palestine is in itself not improbable, and one of them, as we 
shall see, certainly attempted it The Bishops of Exeter 
and Worcester wrote to the Pope, urging tlie necessity of 
their punishment, but adding, that any one who undertook 
such an office would be regarded as an enemy of God, and 
of the Church. 3 But they seem before long to have re- 
covered their position. The other enemies of Becket even 
rose to high offices — John of Oxford was made within five 
years Bishop of Norwich; and GeofiV)' Riddel, Beckef s "arch- 
devil," within four years Bishop of Ely [1173] ; and Richard 
of Ilchester, Arclideacon of Poitiers within three years. 

The murderers themselves, within the first two years of 
the murder, were living at court on familiar terms with tlie 

' Acta S. Rumoldl Sollerius, Ant- ment of the Constitutions of Oarendon, 

werp, 1718 ; communicated by the kind- between Henry II. and the Papal Legate 

ness of Mr. King. (Matt. Paris, 13a), and from iJiat time 

■ Such at least seems the most pro- slayers of cler^ were punished before 

bable explanation. The fact of the Law tlic Grand Justiciary in the presence of 

is stated, as in the text, by Speed (p. 511). the Bishop. 

The law was altered in 1176(23 H. II.), • John of Salisbtxiyi Letters (Giles, 

6hat is, seven years from the date of the ii. 273). 
murder, at the time of the final settle- 

Moreville, Fitzurse, Bret. 107 

king, and constantly joined him in the pleasures of the chase,' 
or else hawking and hunting in England* 

Moreville, who 3 had been Justice-Itinerant in the counties 

of Northumberland and Cumberland at the time of the 

murder, was discontinued from his office the ensuing year ; 

but in the first year of King John he is recorded as paying 

twenty-five marks and three good palfreys for holding his 

court so long as Helwise his wife should continue in a 

secular habit He procured about the same period a charter 

for a fair and market at Kirk Oswald, and died shortly 

afterwards, leaving two daughters. -♦ The sword which he 

wore during the murder is stated by Camden to have 

been preserved in his time ; and is believed to be the one 

still sho\\Ti in the hall of Brayton s Castle, between Carlisle 

and AMiitehaven. A cross near the castle of Egremont, which 

passed into his family, was dedicated to S. Thomas, and the 

spot where it stood is still called St Thomas's Cross. Fitz- 

urse is said to have gone over to Ireland, and there to have 

become the ancestor of the M'Mahon family in the north of 

Ireland — M'Mahon being tlie Celtic translation of Bear's 

son.^ On his flight, the estate which he held in the Isle of 

Thanet, Barham or Berham Court, lapsed to his kinsman 

Robert of Berham — Berham being, as it would seem, the 

English, as M'Mahon was the Irish version, of the name 

Fitzurse.7 His estate of Willeton, in Somersetshire, he made 

over, half to the knights of St John the year after the murder, 

probably in expiation — the other half to his brother Robert, 

who built the chapel of Willeton. The descendants of the 

family lingered for a long time in the ncighbourlirood under 

the same name, successively comij^ted into Fitzour, Fishour, 

* Gervase, 1422. Lawaon, Kart., where I saw it in 1856. 

• Lansdowne MS. (Ant Cant., vii. 211). The sword bearsas an inscription, •' Gott 
■ Foss's Judges, i. 279, 280. bewahr die aufrichten Schotten." The 

* Lysons' Cumberland, p. 127. Nichols' word •'bewahr" proves that the inscription 
Pilgrimage of Erasmus, p. 200. He must (whatever may be the date of the sword) 
not be confounded with bis oaraesake, cannotbeoldcrthan the sixteenth ccatury. 
the founder of Dryburgh Abbey. • Fuller's Worthies. 

• Now the propcity of .-ir Wilfred ♦ Harris's Kent, 313. 

io8 Fitzranulphf Tracy, 

and Fisher,* The family of Bret or Brito was carried on, as 
we shall sliortly see, through at least two generations of female 
descendants. The village of Sanford, in Somersetshire, is 
still called from the family " Sanford Bret.'' * 

Robert Fitzranulph, who had followed the four knights 
into the church, retired at that time from the shrievalty of 
Nottingham and Derby, which he had held during the six 
previous years, and is said to have founded a priory of 
Beauchief in expiation of his crime.3 But his son William 
succeeded to the office, and was in places of trust about the 
court till the reign of John.'* Robert Brock appears to have 
had the custody of the castle of Ilagenett or Agenet in East 

The history of Tracy is the most remarkable of the 
whole. Within four years from the murder he appears as 
Justiciary of Normandy ; he was present at Falaise in 1 1 74, 
when William, king of Scotland, did homage to Henry II., 
and in 11 76 was succeeded in his office by the bishop of 
Winchester.** This is the last authentic notice of him. But 
his name appears long subsequently in the somewhat con- 
flicting traditions of Gloucestershire and Devonshire, the two 
counties where his chief estates lay. The local histories 
of the former endeavour to identify him in the wars of John 
and of Henry III., as late as 12 16 and 1222. But, even 
without cutting short his career by any untimely end, such 
longevity as this would ascribe to him — bringing him to a 
good old age of ninety — makes it probable that he has been 
confounded with his son or grandson.^ There can be little 
doubt, however, that his family still continues in Gloucester- 
shire. His daughter married Sir Gervase de Courtenay, 
and it is apparently from their son, Oliver de Tracy, who 
took the name of his motlicr, that the present Lord Wemyss 
and Lord Sudley are both descended The pedigree, in 

• Collinson's Somersetshire, iii. 487. p. 34- * Foss's Judges, I. aoa. 
' Ibid., iii. 514. * Brompton, 1089; Gervase, 1426. 

* The tradition is disputed, but with- * Nichols' Pilgrimage of Erasmus, 
out reason, in Pcgge's Beauchief Abbey, p. aai. * Rudder's Gloucestershire, 776 




.^■^m&^''^'' ' • • ^'^v-^li^S^'!"!'!''^^^^ 


[To liUf ^. 109. 

Tracy* 109 

fact, contrary to all received opinions on the subject of 
judgments on sacrilege, " exhibits a very singular instance 
of an estate descending for upwards of seven hundred years 
in the male line of the same family."* The Devonshire 
story is more romantic, and probably contains more both 
of truth and of fable. There are two points on the coast of 
North Devon to which local tradition has attached his name. 
One is a huge rent or cavern called " Crookhom " (from a 
crooked crag, now washed away) in the dark rocks im- 
mediately west of Ilfracombe, which is left dry at low water, 
but filled by the tide except for three months in the year. 
At one period within those three months, "Sir William 
Tracy," according to the story of the Ilfracombe boatmen, 
"hid himself for a fortnight immediately after the murder, 
and was fed by his daughter." The other and more remark- 
able spot is Morthoe, a village situated a few miles farther 
west on the same coast — " the height or hold of Morte." In 
the south transept of the parish church of this village, dedi- 
cated to St Mary Magdalene, is a tomb, for which the 
transept has evidently been built. On the black marble 
covering, which lies on a freestone base, is an inscription 
closing with the name of " Sir William Tracy, — The Lord 
have mercy on his soul." This tomb was long supposed, 
and is still believed by the inhabitants of the village, to 
contain the remains of the murderer, who is further stated 
to have founded the church. The female figures sculptured 
on the tomb — namely St Catherine and St. Mary Magdalene 
— are represented as his wife and daughter. That this story 
is fabulous has now been clearly proved by documentary 
evidence, as well as by the appearance of the architecture 
and the style of the inscription. The present edifice is of 
the reign of Henry VI I. The tomb and transept are of the 
reign of Edward II. "Sir" William Tracy" was the rector 

' Rudder's Gloucestershire, 77a Brit- common desi^ation of parish priests. 

ton's Toddington. I have here to express my obligations to 

• Ecclesiasiical Antiquities of Devon- the kindness of the Rev. Charles Crumpe, 

fthire, U. Ii. The title "Sir" was the who has devoted much labour to prove 


no Tracy, 

of the parish, who died and left this chantry in 1322 ; and 
the figure carved on the tomb represents him in his sacer- 
dotal vestments, with the chalice in his hand But although 
there is thus no proof that the murderer was buried in the 
church, and although it is possible that the whole story may 
Iiave arisen from the mistake concerning this monument, 
there is still no reason to doubt that in this neighbourhood 
"he lived a private life, when wind and weather turned 
against him."^ William of Worcester states that he retired 
to the western parts of England, and this statement is con- 
firmed by the well-attested fact of his confession to Bartho- 
lomew, Bishop of Exeter. The property belonged to the 
family, and there is an old farmhouse, close to the sea-shore, 
still called Woollacombe Tracy, which is said to mark the 
spot where he lived in banishment. Beneath it, enclosed 
within black jagged headlands, extends Morte Bay. Across 
the bay stretch the Woollacombe Sands, remarkable as being 
the only sands along the north coast, and as presenting a 
pure and driv^en expanse for some miles. Here, so mns the 
legend, he was banished " to make bundles of the sand, and 
binds (wisps) of the same."* 

Besides these floating traditions there are what may be 
called two standing monuments of his connection with the 
murder. One is the Priory of Woodspring, near the Bristol 
Channel, which was founded in 12 10 by William de Cour- 
tenay, probably his grandson, in honour of the Holy Trinity, 
the Blessed Virgin, and St. Thomas of Canterbury. To this 
priory lands were bequeathed by Maud the daughter, and 
Alice the granddaughter, of the third murderer, Bret or 
Brito, in the hope, expressed by Alice, that the intercession 
of the glorious martyr might never be wanting to her and her 
children. 3 Its ruins still remain under the long promontory, 

that the lid of the tomb, though not the " This I heard from the people on the 

tomb itself, may have belonged to the spot It is of course a mere appropria- 

grave of iJie murderer. For the reasons tion of a wide-spread story, here «ug- 

aboYC given, I am unable to concur with gestcd i>y the locality. 

him. • PoUwhclc's Devonshire, L ^So. * Col 'uiiioo's Somersetshire, iil. 487.50 

Tracy. i ii 

called from it "St Thomas's Head." In the old church of 
Kewstoke, about three miles from Woodspring, during some 
repairs in 1852, a wooden cup, much decayed, was discovered 
in a hollow in the back of a statue of the Virgin fixed 
against the north wall of the choir. The cup contained a 
substance, which was decided to be the dried residuum of 
blood. From the connection of the priory with the mur- 
derers of Becket, and from the fact that the seal of the Prior 
contained a cup or chalice as part of its device, there can 
be little doubt that this ancient cup was thus preserved at 
the time of the Dissolution, as a valuable relic, and that the 
blood which it contained was that of the murdered 

The other memorial of Tracy is still more curious, as 
partially confirming, and certainly illustrating, the legendary 
account which has been given above of his adventure in 
Calabria. In the archives of Canterbury Cathedral a deed 
exists by which " William de Tracy, for the love of God, 
and the salvation of his o\mi soul and his ancestors, and for 
the love of the blessed Thomas Archbishop and Martyr," 
makes over to the Chapter of Canterbury the Manor of 
Daccombe, for the clothing and support of a monk to cele- 
brate masses for the souls of the living and dead. The 
deed is without date, and it might possibly, therefore, have 
been ascribed to a descendant of Tracy, and not to the mur- 
derer himself. But its date is fixed by the confirmation of 
Henry, attested as that confirmation is by " Richard, elect 
of Winchester," and " Robert, elect of Hereford," to the year 
1 1 74 (the only year when Henry's presence in England coin- 
cided with such a conjunction in the two sees).' The manor 
of Daccombe or Dockham, in Devonshire, is still held under 
the Chapter of Canterbury, and is thus a present witness of 

* Journal of Archaeol. Institute, toI. mentioned by Lord Lyttelton In his His- 
y\. p. 400. — The cup, or rather fragment tory of Henry II., iv. 284, but he appears 
of the cup, Ls in the museum at Taunton. not to have seen it, and is ignorant of tho 

• This deed (which (s given in the Ap- circumstances which incontcstably fix tha 
peuiuK to " Becket'» Shriue ") is slightly date. 

112 Pictorial Represmtatioiis of the Murder, 

the remorse with which Tracy humbly begged that, on the 
scene of his deed of blood, masses might be offered — not 
for himself individually (this, perhaps, could hardly have 
been granted) — but as included in the general category of 
"the living and the dead." But, further, this deed is found 
in company with another document, by which it appears 
that one William Thaun, before his departure to the Holy 
Land with his ?naster, made his wife swear to render up to the 
Blessed Thomas and the monks of Canterbury, all his lands, 
given to him by his lord, William de Tracy. He died on 
his journey, his widow married again, and her second hus- 
band prevented her fulfilment of her oath ; she, however, 
survived him, and the lands were duly rendered up. From 
this statement we learn that Tracy really did attempt, if not 
fulfil, a journey to the Holy Land But the attestation of 
the bequest of Tracy himself enables us to identify the story 
still further. One of the witnesses is the Abbot of St 
Euphemia, and there can be little doubt that this Abbey of 
St Euphemia was the celebrated convent of that name in 
Calabria, not twenty miles from Cosenza, the very spot 
where the detention, though not the death, of Tracy, is thus, 
as it would appear, justly placed by the old story. 

The figures of the murderers may be seen in the repre- 
sentations of the martyrdom, which on walls, or in painted 
windows, or in ancient frescoes, have survived the attempted 
extermination of all the monuments of the traitor Becket by 
King Henry VHI. Sometimes three, sometimes four are 
given, but always so far faithful to history, that Moreville is 
stationed aloof from the massacre. Two vestiges of such 
representation still remain in Canterbury Cathedral. One 
is a painting on a board, now greatly defaced, at the head 
of the tomb of King Henry IV. It is engraved, though not 
quite correctly, in Carter's "Ancient Sculpture and Painting," 
and, through the help of the engraving, the principal figures 
can still be dimly discerned.' There is the common mistake 

' A correct copy has bow been naade by Mr. George Austin, of Caaterbury. 

Pictorial Representations of the Murder » 113 

of making the Archbishop kneel at the altar, and of repre- 
senting Grim, with his blood-stained arm, as the bearer of 
the cross. The knights are carefully distinguished from one 
another. Bret, with boars* heads embroidered on his sur- 
coat, is in the act of striking. Tracy appears to have already 
dealt a blow, and the bloody stains are visible on his sword, 
to mark the ^^ primus percussor.^^ Fitzurse, with bears on 
his coat, is " stirring the brains " of his victim, holding his 
sword w^th both hands perpendicularly, thus taking the part 
sometimes ascribed to him, though really belonging to 
Mauclera Moreville, distinguished by fleurs-de-lis, stands 
apart All of them have beards of the style of Henry IV. 
On the ground lies the bloody scalp, or cap, it is difficult to 
determine which.' There is besides a sculpture over the 
south porch, where Erasmus states that he saw the figures 
of " the three murderers," with their names of "Tusci, Fusci, 
and Berri," * underneath. These figures have disappeared \ 
and it is as difficult to imagine where they could have stood, 
as it is to explain the origin of the names they bore ; but in 
the portion which remains, there is a representation of an 
altar surmounted by a crucifix, placed between the figures 

* A much more faithful representa- piece of the Church of St Thomas, 

tlon is given in an illuminated Psalter which forms the chapel of the English 

in the British Museum (Harl.,1502) un- College at Eome. The saint is repre- 

doubtedly of the period, and, as Eecket sented in a monastic garb, on his knees 

is depicted without the nimbus, probably before the ahar of a Roman Basilica : 

soon after, if not before, the canonisation. and behind him are the three knights, in 

He is represented in white drapery, fall- complete classical costume, brandishing 

ing towards the altar. His grey cap is daggers like those of the assassins of 

dropping to the ground, Fitzurse and Caesar. The nearest likeness of the event 

Tracy are rightly given with coats of i« in the choir of Sens Cathedral. A 

mail up to their eyes. Moreville is with- striking modem picture of the scene, just 

out helmet or armour. Fitzurse is wound- before the onslaught of the murderers, by 

Ing Grim. A light hangs from the roof. Uie English artist Mr. Cross (see Fraser's 

The palace (apparently), with the town Magazine, June, 1861), is now hung in 

wall, is seen in the distance. There is the north aisle of the CathedraL 
another illumination in the same Psalter, 

representing the burial In the Journal • "Ecrri" Is probably a mistake fot 

of the Archxol. Assoc., April, 1854, there Beat's Son, Fitzurse's (Fusci's) English 

is a full account of a fresco in Sl John's name. The same names occur in flentz- 

Church, Winchester ; in the Archaeologia ncr's Travels in England, 1598. "In 

(vol. Ix.), of one at Brereton in Cheshire. vestibulo tcmpli quod est ad austnim in 

The widest deviation from historical saxum incisi sunt tres armati . . . additii 

truth is to be fcmnd in th« modem altar- Im cosnominibus, Tusci, Fusci, BcrrL** 

114 The Ki?2gs Remorse, 

of St John and the Virgin, and marked as the altar of the 
martyrdom — ** Altare ad punctum ensis," — by sculptured 
fragments ' of a sword which lie at its foot 

[1170.] Thus far have we traced the history of the mur- 
derers, but the great expiation still remained. The King had 
gone from Bur to Argenton, a town situated on the high 
table-land of southern Normandy. The night before the 
news arrived (so ran the story ') an aged inhabitant of Argen- 
ton was startled in his sleep by a scream rising as if from 
the ground, and forming itself into these portentous words : 
" Behold my blood cries from the earth more loudly than 
the blood of righteous Abel, who was killed at the beginning 
of the world." — The old man, on the following day, was 
discussing with his friend what this could mean, when 
suddenly the tidings arrived that Becket had been slain at 
Canterbury. \Vlien the King heard it, he instantly shut 
himself up for three days, refused all food, 3 except milk of 
almonds, rolled himself in sackcloth and ashes, vented his 
grief in frantic lamentations, and called God to witness that 
he was in no way responsible for the Archbishop's death, 
unless that he loved him too little. •♦ He continued in this 
solitude for five weeks, neither riding nor transacting public 
business, but exclaiming again and again, '* Alas 1 alas ] that 
it ever happened." 5 

The French King, the Archbishop of Sens, and others, 
had meanwhile written to the Pope, denouncing Henry in 
the strongest language as the murderer, and calling for 
vengeance upon his head ; ^ and there was a fear tliat this 
vengeance would take the terrible form of a public excom- 
munication of the King, and an interdict of the kingdom. 
Henry, as soon as he was roused from his retirement, sent 

* That these are representations of 'Vita Qtiadip., p. 143. "Milk of 

the broken sword is confirmed by the Almonds" is used in Russia during fastA 

exactly similar representation in the seal instead of common millt. 

of the Abbey of Aberbrothock. * Matt Paris, 125. 

■ Benedict, de Mirac S. Thomae, ' Vita Quadrip., 146. 

L 3« * Brompton, 1064. 

TJie King's Refnorse, 115 

off as envoys to Rome the Archbishop of Rouen, the Bishop 
of Worcester, and others of his courtiers, to avert the dreaded 
penalties by announcing his submission. The Archbishop 
of Rouen returned on account of illness, and Alexander III., 
who occupied the Papal See, and who after long struggles 
with his rival had at last got back to Rome, refused to 
receive the rest He was, in fact, in the eyes of Christen- 
dom, not wholly guiltless himself, in consequence of the 
lukewarmness with which he had fought Becket's fights; 
and it was believed that he, like the King, had shut himself 
up on hearing the news as much from remorse as from 
grief. At last, by a bribe of 500 marks,^ an interview was 
effected on the heights of ancient Tusculum — not yet super- 
seded by the modem FrascatL Two Cardinals, Theodore 
(or Theodwin), Bishop of Portus, and Albert, Chancellor 
of the Holy See, were sent to Normandy to receive the 
royal penitent's submission,* and an excommunication was 
pronounced against the murderers on Maunday Thursday, 3 
which is still the usual day for the delivery of Papal male- 
dictions. The worst of the threatened evils — excommunica- 
tion and interdict — were thus avoided ; but Henry still felt 
so insecure that he crossed over to England, ordered all the 
ports to be strictly guarded to prevent the admission of 
the fatal document, and refused to see any one who was the 
bearer of letters.-* It was during this short stay that he 
visited for the last time the old Bishop of Winchester,5 
Henry of Blois, brother of King Stephen, well known as 
the founder of the beautiful hospital of St. Cross, when the 
dying old man added his solemn warnings to those which 
were resounding from every quarter with regard to the deed 
of blood. From England Henry crossed St. George's 
Channel to his new conquests in Ireland, and it was on his 
return from the expedition that the first public expression of 
his penitence was made in Normandy. 

' Gcrrase, 1418. ■ Erompton, 1068. * Cen-asc, 141!. 

• ]>iccto, 556. • Cervase, liig. 

Ii6 Penance at Gorram and AvrancJus. [1172. 

He repaired to his castle of Gorram,* now Goron, on the 
banks of the Colmont, where he first met the Pope's Legates, 
and exchanged the kiss of charity with them. This was 
on the 1 6th of May, the Tuesday before the Rogation days ; 
the next day he went on to Savigny, where they were joined 
by the Archbishop of Rouen and many bishops and noble- 
men ; and finally proceeded to the Council, which was to 
be held under the auspices of the Legate at Avranches. 

The great Norman cathedral of that beautiful city stood 
on what was perhaps the finest situation of any cathedral in 
Christendom, — on the brow of the high ridge which sustains 
the town of AvTanches, and looking over the wide bay, in 
the centre of which stands the sanctuary of Norman chivalry 
and superstition, the majestic rock of St. Michael, crowned 
with its fortress and chapel. Of this vast cathedral one 
granite pillar alone has survived the neglect that followed tlie 
French Revolution, and that pillar marks the spot where 
Henry performed his first penance for the murder of Becket 
It bears an inscription with these words : — " Sur cette pierre, 
ici, \ la porte de la cathe'drale d'Avranches, apres le meurtre 
de Thomas Becket, Archdveque de Cantorbery, Henri H., 
Roi d'Anglcterre et Due de Normandie, regut \ genoux, 
des legats du Pape, I'absolution apostolique, le Dimanche, 
xxi Mai. mclxxii." * 

* Ep. Sl Thomae InMSS. Cott Claud., theologian, each famous in his day. — has 

b. ii. f. 350, epist 94, also preserved in become known in our gcneralion through 

the Vita Quadripartita, edited by Lupus the celebrated Gorham controversy, which 

at Brussels, pp. 146, 147, 871, where, in 1850 invested for a time with an almost 

however, the episde is numbered 88 from European interest the name of the bte 

a Vatican MS. George Cornelius Gorham, vicar of Bram- 

The castle In question was pwcured ford Spcke. To his courtesy and pro- 

by Henry I. from Geoffrey, third duke found antiquarian knowledge, I was In- 

of Maycnne, and was well known for debted for the above references. 

its deer preserves. To the ecclesiastical • So the inscription stands as I saw it 

historian of the nineteenth century, the In 1874. But as it appeared when I first 

town near which it is situated will pos- saw it, in 1851, and also in old g^iide 

sess a curious interest as the original scat books of Normandy, it was "xxii Mai." 

of the family of Gorram, or Gorham, — Mr. Gorham pointed out to me at the 

which, after giving birth to Geoffrey, the time that the 22nd of May did not that 

Abbgt of St. Albans, and Nicholas the fall on a Sunday : — 

1172.] Penance at Avranches, \\J 

The council was held in the church, on the Friday of 
the same week. On the following Sunday, being Rogation 
Sunday, or that which precedes the Ascension, the King 
swore on the Gospels that he had not ordered or wished 
the Archbishop's murder ; but that as he could not put the 
assassins to death, and feared that his fury had instigated 
them to the act, he was ready on his part to make all 
satisfaction, — adding, of himself, that he had not grieved so 
much for the death of his father or his mother.* He next 
swore adhesion to the Pope, restitution of the property of 
the see of Canterbury, and renunciation of the Constitutions 
of Clarendon ; and further promised, if the Pope required, 
to go a three years' crusade to Jerusalem or Spain, and to 
support 200 soldiers for the Templars.* After this, he said 
aloud, *' Behold, my Lords Legates, my body is in your 
hands j be assured that whatever you order, whether to go 
to Jerusalem or to Rome, or to St. James (of Compostella), 
I am ready to obey." The spectators, whose sympathy is 
usually with the sufferer of the hour, were almost moved to 
tears. 3 He was thence led by the legates to the porch, where 
he knelt, but was raised up, brought into the church, and 
reconciled. The young Henry, at his father's suggestion, 
was also present, and, placing his hand in that of Cardinal 
Albert,^ promised to make good his father's oath. The 
Archbishop of Tours was in attendance, that he might certify 
the penance to the French king. 

Two years passed again, and the fortunes of the King 
grew darker and darker with the rebellion of his sons. It 
was this which led to the final and greater penance at 

"In A.D. 1171, Sunday fell on May a3rd. fact that It was in May; not as Ger- 

In A.D. 117a, ,t „ May 21st. vase (p. 422) states, on the 27th of Scp- 

In A.D. 1173, ,, ,t May 20th. tember, misled perhaps, as Mr. Gorham 

The only years in the rclgn of Henry II. suggests, by some document, sub^e- 

In which May 22ni fell on a Sunday, quently signed by the King. 

were a.d. 1155, 1160, 1166, 1177, 1183, ' Diceto, 557. 

1188." There seems no reason to doubt ' Alan., in Vita Quadrlp., i47- 

the year 1172, which Is fixed by the " Gervase, 1422. 

Cotton MS. Life of St. Thomas, nor the * Alan., in Vita Quadrip., 147, 148. 

E 2 

n8 TJie King at Bonneiille, [ll74 

Canterbury, [i 174.] He was conducting a campaign against 
Frince Richard in Poitou when the Bishop of Winchester 
arrived with the tidings that England was in a state of 
general revolt. The Scots had crossed the border, under 
their King ; Yorksliire was in rebellion, under tlie standard 
of Mowbray ; Norfolk, under Bigod ; the midland counties, 
under Ferrers and Huntingdon ; and the Earl of Flanders 
with Prince Henry was meditating an invasion of England 
from Flanders. All these hostile movements were further 
fomented and sustained by the revival of the belief, not 
sufficiently dissipated by the penance at Avranches, that the 
King had himself been privy to the murder of the Saint 
In the winter after that event, a terrible storm had raged 
through England, Ireland, and France, and the popular 
imagination heard in the long roll of thunder the blood of 
St. Thomas roaring to God for vengeance.^ The next year, 
as we have seen, the Saint had been canonised ; and his 
fame as the great miracle-worker of the time, was increasing 
every month. It was under these circumstances, that on the 
Midsummer-day of the year 11 74 the Bishop found the King 
at Bonneville." So many messages had been daily des- 
patched, and so much importance was attached to the cha- 
racter of the Bishop of \\'inchester, that the Normans, on 
seeing his arrival, exclaimed, "The next thing that the 
English will send over to fetch the King will be the Tower 
of London itself" 3 Henry saw at once the emergency. 
That very day, with the Queens Eleanor and Margaret, his 
son and daughter John and Joan, and the princesses, wives 
of his other sons, he set out for England. He embarked in 
spite of the threatening weather and tlie ominous looks of 
the captain. A tremendous gale sprang up, and the King 
uttered a public prayer on board the ship, that, " if his 
arrival in England would be for good, it might be accom- 
plished; if for evil, never." 

' Matthew of Westminster, 250. 

' The chroniclers have aud« a confusion betvreen June and July; Init July b 
^j^'L—Hiroedtn, 308. • Diceto, 573. 

1174.] His Ride from SoutJtampton. 119 

The wind abated, and he arrived at Southampton on 
Monday, the 8th of July. From that moment he began to 
live on the penitential diet of bread and water, and deferred 
all business till he had fulfilled his vow. He rode to Canter- 
bury with speed, avoiding towns as much as possible, and 
on Friday, the 12th of July, approached the sacred cit}', 
probably by a road of which traces still remain, over tlie 
Surrey hills, and which falls into what was then as now 
the London road by the ancient village and hospital of 
Harbledown. This hospital, or leper-house, now venerable 
i^ith the age of seven centuries, was then fresh from the 
hands of its founder, Lanfranc, Whether it had yet obtained 
the relic of the saint — the upper leather of his shoe, which 
Erasmus saw, and which, it is said, remained in the alms- 
house almost down to our own day — does not appear; but 
he halted there, as was the wont of all pilgrims, and made 
a gift of 40 marks to the little church. And now, as he 
climbed the steep road beyond the hospital, and descended 
on the other side of the hill, the first view of the cathedral 
burst upon him, rising, not indeed in its present proportions, 
but still with its three towers and vast front, and he leaped 
off his horse, and went on foot through a road turned into 
puddles by the recent storms,^ to the outskirts of tlie town. 
Here, at St Dunstan's* church, he paused again, entered the 
edifice with the prelates who were present, stripped off his 
ordinary dress, and walked through the streets in the guise 
of a penitent pilgrim — barefoot, and with no other covering 
than a woollen shirt, and a cloak thrown over it to keep off 
rain. 3 

So, amidst a wondering crowd — the rough stones of the 
streets marked with the blood that started from his feet — 
he reached the cathedral. There he knelt as at Avranches, 
in the porch, then entered the church, and went straight to 

• Trivet, 104. Robert of Mont S. ' Grim. 86. 

Michel ( Appendix to Sigcbert in * Ganuer, 78, voL S9. He was pre- 

Perthes, roL vi.) tenu 

120 Penance in the Crypt, [1174. 

the scene of the murder in the north transept Here he 
knelt again, and kissed the sacred stone on which the Arch- 
bishop had fallen, the prelates standing round to receive his 
confessiorL Thence he was conducted to the crypt, where 
he again knelt, and with groans and tears kissed the tomb 
and remained long in prayer. At this stage of the solemnity, 
Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London — the ancient opponent 
and rival of Becket — addressed the monks and bystanders, 
announcing to them the King's penitence for having by his 
rash words unwittingly occasioned the perpetration of a 
crime of which he himself was innocent, and his intention 
of restoring the riglits and property of the church, and 
bestowing 40 marks yearly on the monastery to keep lamps 
burning constantly at the mart}T's tomb.' The King ratified 
all that the bishop had said, requested absolution, and re- 
ceived a kiss of reconciliation from the prior. He knelt 
again at the tomb, removed the rough cloak which had been 
thrown over his shoulders, but still retained the woollen shirt 
to hide the haircloth,' which was visible to near observation, 
next his skin, placed his head and shoulders in the tomb, 
and there received five strokes from each bishop and abbot 
who was present, beginning with Foliot, who stood by with 
the " balai," or monastic rod, in his hand,3 and three from 
each of the eighty monks. Fully absolved, he resumed his 
clothes, but was still left in the cr)'pt, resting against one of 

• Gamier, 80, b. g^ (p- 50.) The King is represented as kneel- 

. ,^ , , , ... Ing. crowned but almost naked, before 

Newburgh alone (118,) represents t^^ shrine. Two great officers, one bear- 

the penance as having taken place m the j„^ ^^^ ^^^^^ ^^ gtate, stand behind him. 

chapter-house, doubtless as the usual .^^^ ^^^^.^ j^ ^j^^j^ ^^^^^ Benedictine 

place for discipline. The part surround- ^^^es are defiling round the shrine, each 

ing the tomb was superseded in the next ^j^^ a large r«d in his hand approaching 

generation by the circular vault which ^^^ ^^^ shoulders of the King. A good 

now supports the Trm.ty Chapel. But ^^^j^^ ^^ ^-^^ ceremony of the scourging 

the architecture must have been like what j^ conveyed by the elaborate formalities 

is now seen in the western portion of the ^.;^^ ^.^^^^ j^ ^^ nominally, and pro- 

*''^P hably for the last time, exercised by Pope 

•Grim, 86. A lively representation Julius II. and the Cardinals on the Vane- 

of Hcnr>''s p>enance is to be seen in tian Deputies in 1509. — Skitcfus 0/ Ven*' 

Carter's Andent Sculpture and Painting tian History, c. 16. 

1 174.] A bsolution, 121 

the rude Norman ' pillars, on the bare ground, with bare ' feet 
still unwashed from the muddy streets, and passed the whole 
night fasting. At early matins he rose and went round the 
altars and shrines of the upper church, then returned to the 
tomb, and finally, after hearing mass, drank of the Martyr's 
well, and carried off one of the usual phials of Canterbury 
pilgrims, containing water mixed with the blood, and so rode 
to London.3 

So deep a humiliation of so great a prince was unpar- 
alleled within the memory of that generation. The sub- 
mission of Theodosius to Ambrose, of Louis the Debonnaire 
at Soissons, of Otho III. at Ravenna, of Edgar to Dunstan, 
of the Emperor Henry IV. to Gregory VII., were only known 
as matters of history. It is not surprising that the usual 
figure of speech by which the chroniclers express it should 
be " the mountains trembled at the presence of the Lord " 
— ** the mountain of Canterbury smoked before Him who 
touches the hills and they smoke." '♦ The auspicious conse- 
quences were supposed to be immediate. The King had 
arrived in London on Sunday, and was so completely ex- 
hausted by the effects of the long day and night at Canter- 
bury, that he was seized with a dangerous fever. On the 
following Thursday,5 at midnight, the guards were roused 
by a violent knocking at the gates. The messenger, who 
announced that he brought good tidings, was reluctantly 
admitted into the King's bedroom. The King, starting from 
his sleep, said, '* Who art thou ? " "I am the servant of your 
faithful Count Ralph of Glanville," was the answer, " and I 
come to bring you good tidings." " Is our good Ralph 
well ? " asked the King. " He is well," answered the servant, 
"and he has taken your enemy the King of the Scots 
prisoner at Richmond." The King was thunderstruck ; the 
servant repeated his message, and produced the letters con- 

» Gamier, 80, b. ag. •' Becket's Shrine." 

• Diceto, 575. • Grim, 86. 

• See Not A. to the Essay 00 • Gcrvase, Chron., 1417. 

122 Coujit Ralph of Glanville, 

firming it.' The King leaped from his bed, and returned 
thanks to God and " St. Thomas." The victory over William 
the Lion had taken place on the very Saturday on which he 
had left Canterbury, after having ' made his peace with the 
martyr. On the same Saturday, the fleet, with which his 
son had intended to invade England from Flanders,3 was 
driven back. It was in the enthusiasm of this crisis that 
Tracy, as it would seem, presented to the King the bequest 
of his manor of Daccombe to the monks of Canterbury, 
which accordingly received then and there, at Westminster, 
the Royal confirmation.-* Once more, as far as we know, 
the penitent king and the penitent knight met, in the De- 
cember of that same year, when, in the fortress of Falaise, 
the captured King of Scotland did homage to his conqueror, 
Tracy standing, as of old, by his master's side, but now 
in the high position of Justiciary of Normandy. Nor did 
the association of his capture with the Martyr's power pass 
away from the mind of William the Lion. He, doubtless 
in recollection of these scenes, reared on his return to Scot- 
land the stately abbey of Aberbrothock, to the memory of 
St. Thomas of Canterbury. 

Thus ended this great tragedy. Its efl'ects on the consti- 
tution of the country, and on the religious feeling not only 
of England but of Europe, would open too large a field. It 
is enough if, from the narrative we have given, a clearer 
notion can be formed of that remarkable event than is to be 
derived from the works either of his professed apologists or 
professed opponents — if the scene can be more fully realised, 
the localities more accurately identified, the man and his 
age more clearly understood. If there be any who still 
regard Becket as an ambitious and unprincipled traitor, 
plotting for his own aggrandisement against the welfare of 

• Brompton, 1095. The cfTtct of this mass was finished, 

story is heightened by Gaufridus Vo- " Brompton, 1096. 

sicnsis (Script. Rcr. Franc, 443), who * M- Paris, p. 130. 

speaks of the announcement as taking * See Appendix to " Beclcet's Shrine." 
place in Canterbury Cathedral, after 

Conclusion, 123 

the monarchy, they will perhaps be induced, by the accounts 

of his last moments, to grant to him the honour, if not of a 

m.artyr, at least of an honest and courageous man, and to 

believe that such restraints as the religious awe of high 

character, or of sacred place and office, laid on men like 

Henry and his courtiers, are not to be despised in any age, 

and in that lawless and cruel time were almost the only 

safeguards of life and property. If there be any who are 

glad to welcome or stimulate attacks, however unmeasured 

in language or unjust in fact, against bishops and clergy, 

whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, in the hope of 

securing the interests of Christian liberty against priestly 

tyranny, they may take warning by the reflection that the 

greatest impulse ever given in this country to the cause of 

sacerdotal independence was the reaction produced by the 

horror consequent on the deed of Fitzurse and Tracy. 

Those, on the other hand, who, in the curious change of 

feeling that has come over our age, are inclined to the 

ancient reverence for St. Thomas of Canterbury as the 

meek and gentle saint of holier and happier times than our 

own, may, perhaps, be led to modify their judgment by the 

description, taken not from his enemies, but from his 

admiring followers, of the violence, the obstinacy, the 

furious words and acts, which deformed even the dignity of 

his last hour, and well-nigh turned the solemnity of his 

" martyrdom " into an unseemly brawl. They may learn to 

see in the brutal conduct of the assassins — in the abject 

cowardice of the monks — in the savage mortifications and 

the fierce passions of Becket himself — how little ground 

there is for that paradise of faith and love which some 

modem writers find for us in the age of the Plantagenet 

kings.* And for those who beUeve that an indiscriminate 

• One ol the ablest of Beclvct's recent Catholics entertain for the late " Libe- 
•pologists (Ozanam, Let Deux Chan- rator" of Ireland, declares that on O'Con- 
ceiUrt), who combines with his venera- nell, if on any character of this age, the 
tion for the Archbishop that singular mantle of the saint and martyr has de- 
admiration which almobt all continental sccndcd. Perhaps the readers of our 

1 24 Conclusion. 

maintenance of ecclesiastical claims is the best service they 
can render to God and the Church, and that opposition to 
the powers that be is enough to entitle a bishop to the 
honours of a saint and a hero, it may not be without instruc- 
tion to remember that the Constitutions of Clarendon, 
which Becket spent his life in opposing, and of which his 
death procured the suspension, are now incorporated in the 
English law, and are regarded, without a dissentient voice, 
as amongst the wisest and most necessary of English institu- 
tions ; that the especial point for which he surrendered his 
life was not the independence of the clergy from the en- 
croachments of the Crown, but the personal and now 
forgotten question of the superiority of the see of Canter- 
bury to the see of York.' Finally, we must all remember 
that the wretched superstitions which gathered round the 
shrine of St. Thomas, ended by completely alienating the 
affections of thinking men from his memory, and rendering 
the name of Becket a by-word of reproach as little propor- 
tioned to his real deserts as had been the reckless veneration 
paid to it by his worshippers in the middle ages. 

narrative will think that, in some respects, " the most glorious of laymen," as Pope 

the comparison of the Frenchman is true Gregory XVI. called Daniel O'Connell, 

in another sense than that in which he who as a second Thomas strove and suf- 

intended it. So fixed an idea has the fcred for the liberties of his country and 

simil.xrity become in the minds of foreign his church. 

Roman Catholics, that in a popular life * Hmc fuit vera et unica causa aut 

of St. Thomas, published as one of a occ.isio nccis S. Thomx. Goussainvillc 

series at Prague, under the authority of in Peter of Blois, cp. 2a. (See Robert- 

the Archbishop of Cologne, the conclud- son, p. 200.) Compare Memorials of 

ing moral is an appeal to the example of Westminster, c u. smd c v. 



[To /aCf /. I^/}. 


{To /ace p. 125. 

Edward the Black Prince. 

This lecture, it will be seen, dwells almost entirely upon those points 
which give an interest to the tomb at Canterbury. For any general 
view of the subject, the reader must go to Froissart, or to the biographies 
of Barnes and James j for any further details, to the excellent essays in 
the 20th, 22nd, 2Slh, and 32nd volumes of the Archacologia, and to the 
contemporary metrical Ufe by Chandos, to which reference is made in 
the course of the lecture. The Ordinance founding his Chantry, and 
the "Will which regulated his funeral and the erection of his tomb, 
are printed at the end, with notes by Mr. Albert Way, 

Edward the Black Prince. 


Lecture delivered at Canterbury, June, 1852. 

"V^ VERY one who has endeavoured to study history, must 
"'"^ be struck by the advantage which those enjoy who live 
within the neighbourhood of great historical monuments. 
To have seen the place where a great event happened — 
to have seen the picture, the statue, the tomb, of an illus- 
trious man, is the next thing to being present at the event 
in person, to seeing the scene with our own eyes. In this 
respect few spots in England are more highly favoured than 
Canterbury. It is not too much to say, that if any one 
were to go through the various spots of interest in or around 
our great Cathedral, and ask what happened here ? — who 
was the man whose tomb we see ? — why was he buried here? 
— what effect did his life or his death have on the world ? — 
a real knowledge of the history of England would be 
obtained, such as the mere reading of books or hearing of 
lectures, would utterly fail to supply. And it is my hope 
that by lectures of this kind you will be led to acquire this 
knowledge for yourselves far more effectually than by 
hearing anything which the lectures themselves convey — 
and you will have thus gained not only knowledge, but 
interest and amusement in the sight of what now seem to be 

128 Historical Lesson of Canterbury CatJudraL 

mere stones or bare walls, but what would then be so many 
chapters of English history, so many portraits and pictures 
of famous men and famous events in the successive ages of 
the world. 

Let me, before I begin my immediate subject, show you 
very briefly how this may be done. First, if any one asks 
why Canterbury is what it is — why from this small to^^^l 
the first subject in this great kingdom takes his title — why 
we have any cathedral at all ? — the answer is to be found in 
that great event, the most important that has ever occurred 
in English history, the conversion of Ethelbert, King of 
Kent, by the first missionary, Augustine. And if you would 
understand this, it will lead you to make out for yourselves 
the history of the Saxon Kings — who they were — whence 
they came — and who Augustine was, why he came — and 
what was the city of Rome, from whence he was sent forth. 
And then if you enter the Cathedral, you will find in the 
tombs which lie within its walls, remembrances of almost 
every reign in the history of England. Augustine and the 
seven first Archbishops are buried at St Augustine's; but 
from that time to the Reformation they have, with a very 
few exceptions, been buried in the Cathedral, and, even 
where no tombs are left, the places where they were buried 
are for the most part known. And, the Archbishops being 
at that time not only the chief ecclesiastics, but also the 
chief officers of state in the kingdom, their graves tell you 
not merely the history of the English clerg}^ but also of the 
whole Commonwealth and State of England besides. It is 
for this reason that there is no church, no place in the king- 
dom, with the exception of Westminster Abbey, that is so 
closely connected with the general history of our common 
country. The Kings before the Reformation are for the 
most part in the Abbey, but their Prime Ministers — so to 
speak — are for the most part in Canterbury Cathedral.* 

* See Archbishop Parker's record, History of Canterbury Cathedral, pp. 13, 
compendiously (ivcD in Professor Willis's 134- I cannot forbear to exprcM a hop* 

The Tombs » 129 

Ask who it was who first laid out the monastery, and 
who it was that laid the foundations of the Cathedral as it 
now stands, and you will find that it was Lanfranc, the new 
Archbishop whom William the Conqueror brought over with 
him from Normandy, and who thus re-established the old 
diurch with his Norman workmen. Then look at the 
venerable tower on the south side of the Cathedral, and ask 
who lies buried within, and from whom it takes its name ? 
and you will find yourself with Anselm, the wise counsellor 
of Willam Rufus and Henry I. — Anselm, the great theo 
logian, who, of all the primates of the see of Canterbury, is 
the most knowTi by his life and writings throughout the world. 
And then we come to the most remarkable event that has 
happened at Canterbury since the arrival of Augustine, and of 
which the effect may be traced not in one part only, but 
almost through every stone in the Cathedral, — the murder 
of Becket ; followed by the penance of Henry II» and the 
long succession of Canterbury pilgrims. Then, in the south 
aisle, the effigy of Hubert Walter brings before us the camp 
of the Crusaders at Acre, where he was appointed Archbishop 
by Richard I. Next look at that simple tomb in St Michael's 
Chapel, half in and half out of the church, and you will be 
brought to the time of King John; for it is the grave of 
Stephen Langton, who, more than any one man, won for us 
the Magna Charta. Then look back at the north transept, 
at the wooden statue that lies in the comer. That is the 
grave of Archbishop Peckham, in the reign of King 
Edward I., and close beside that spot King Edward I. was 
married. And now we come to the time at which the 
subject of my lecture begins, the reign of King Edward HI. 
And so we might pass on to Archbishop Sudbury, who lost 
his head in the reign of Richard H. ; to Henry IV., who lies 
there himself; to Chichele, who takes us on to Henry V. 

that this scries of illustrious tombs will bidding the interment even of our arch« 
not be needlessly cut short for all future bishops within their own cathedrals, 
generations by the recent enactment for- 

130 Birth of the Black Prince, 

and Henry VI. ; to Morton, who reminds us of Henry VII. 
and Sir Thomas More ; to Warham, the friend of Erasmus, 
predecessor of Archbishop Cranmer ; and then to the sub- 
sequent troubles — of which the Cathedral still bears the 
marks — in the Reformation and the Civil Wars. 

On some future occasion, perhaps, I may be permitted 
to speak of the more important of these, as opportunity may 
occur. But for the present let us leave the Primates of 
Canterbury', and turn to our especial subject Let us place 
ourselves in imagination by the tomb of the most illustrious 
la}Tnan who rests among us, Edward Plantagenet, Prince of 
Wales, commonly called the Black Prince. Let us ask 
whose likeness is it tliat we there see stretched before us — 
why was he buried in this place, amongst the Archbishops 
and sacred shrines of former times — what can we learn from 
his life or his death ? 

[1330.] A few words must first be given to his birth and 
childhood. He was bom on the 15th of June, 1330, at the 
old palace of Woodstock, near Oxford, from which he was 
sometimes called Prince Edward of Woodstock.^ He was 
you ;nll remember, the eldest son of King Edward III. and 
Queen Philippa, a point always to be remembered in his 
history, because, like Alexander the Great, and a few other 
eminent instances, he is one of those men in whom the 
peculiar qualities both of his father and his mother were 
equally exemplified. Every one knows the story of the 
siege of Calais, of the sternness of King Edward and the 
gentleness of Queen Philippa, and it is the union of these 
qualities in their son which gave him the exact place which 
he occupies in the succession of our English princes, and in 
the history of Europe. 

We always like to know where a famous man was edu- 
cated. And here we know the place, and also see the reason 
why it was chosen. Any of you who have been at Oxford 
will remember the long line of buildings which overlook the 

" Archx^l., xxii. 227. 

Education at Queetis College. ijx 

beautiful curve of High street, the buildings of " Queen's 
College," the College of the Queen. At the time of which I 
speak, that college was the greatest — two others only in any 
regular collegiate form existed in Oxford It had but just 
been founded by the chaplain of Queen Philippa, and took 
its name from her. There it was that, according to tradition, 
the Prince of Wales, her son, as in the next generation, 
Henry V., was brought up. [1342.] If we look at the events 
which followed, he could hardly have been twelve years old 
when he went But there were then no schools in England, 
and their place was almost entirely supplied by the univer- 
sities. Queen's College is much altered in every way since the 
little Prince went there ; but they still keep an engraving of 
the vaulted room, which he is said to have occupied ; ' and 
though most of the old customs which prevailed in the 
college, and which made it a very peculiar place even then, 
have long since disappeared, some which are mentioned by 
the founder, and which therefore must have been in use 
when the Prince was tliere, still continue. You may still 
hear the students summoned to dinner, as he was, by the 
sound of a trumpet, and, in the hall, you may still see, as he 
saw, the Fellows sitting all on one side of the table, with the 
Head of the college in the centre, in imitation of the " Last 
Supper," as it is commonly represented in pictures.* The 
ver}^ names of the Head and the twelve Fellows (the number 
first appointed by the founder, in likeness of our Lord and 
the Apostles), who were presiding over the college when the 
Prince was there, are known to us. 3 He must have seen 
what has long since vanished away, the tliirteen beggars, 
deaf, dumb, maimed, or blind, daily brought into the hall, 
to receive their dole of bread, beer, potage, and fish.* He 
must have seen the seventy poor scholars, instituted after 
example of the seventy disciples, and learning from their two 
chaplains to chant the service, s He must have heard the 

• It now Kanfs la the tallery abore • Statutes of Queen's College, p. ii. 
the hall of Queen's College. • lb., pp. 9, 33. * lb., p. 30. * /3., p. 17. 

132 John Wy cliff e, 

mill within or hard by the college walls grinding the Fellows- 
bread. He must have seen the porter of the college going 
round the rooms betimes in the morning to shave the beards, 
and wash the heads of the Fellows.* In these and many 
other curious particulars, we can tell exactly what the cus- 
toms and appearance of the College were when the Prince 
was there. It is more difficult to answer another question, 
which we always wish to know about famous men — Who 
were his companions ? An old tradition (unfortunately 
beset with doubts) points to one youth, at that time in 
Oxford, and at Queen's College,* whom we shall all recognise 
as an old acquaintance — John Wycliffe, the first English 
Reformer, and the first translator of the Bible into English. 
He would have been a poor boy, in a threadbare coat,3 and 
devoted to study, and the Prince probably never exchanged 
looks or words with him. But we shall be glad to be allowed 
to believe that once at least in their lives the great soldier of 
the age had crossed the path of the great Reformer. Each 
thought and cared little for the other ; their characters, and 
pursuits, and s}TTipathies, were as different as were their 
stations in life ; let us be thankful if we have learned to 
understand them both, and see what was good in each, far 
better then they did themselves. 

We now pass to the next events of his life ; those which 
have really made him almost as famous in war, as WyclifTe 
has been in peace — the two great battles of Cressy and 
of Poitiers. I will not now go into the origin of the war, of 
which these two battles formed the turning-points. It is 
enough for us to remember that it was undertaken by Edward 
III. to gain the crown of France, a claim, through his 
mother, which he had solemnly relinquished, but which he 
now resumed to satisfy the scruples of his allies, the citizens 
of Ghent, who thought that their oath of allegiance to the 

' Statutes of Queen's College, pp. cliflTe at Queen's College, see Appendix. 
«8, 39. 

■ For the doubts respecting the tr»- " See Chaucer's description of the 

dltlon of the Black Prince and of Wjr* Oxford Clerk- 

Battle of Cressy, 133 

" King of France," would be redeemed if their leader did 
but bear the name. 

[1346.] And now, first for Cressy. I shall not undertake to 
describe the whole fight, but will call your attention briefly 
to the questions which every one ought to ask himself, if he 
wishes to understand anything about any battle whatever. 
First, where was it fought ? secondly, why was it fought ? 
thirdly, how was it won ? and fourthly, what was the result 
of it? And to this I must add, in the present instance, 
what part was taken in it by the Prince, v/hom we left as a 
little boy at Oxford, but who was now following his father 
as a young knight in his first great campaign ? The first of 
these questions involves the second also. If we make out 
where a battle was fought, this usually tells us why it was 
fought j and this is one of the many proofs of the use of 
learning geography together with history. Each helps us to 
understand the other. Edward had ravaged Normandy and 
reached the very gates of Paris, and was retreating towards 
Flanders when he was overtaken by the French King, Philip, 
who, with an immense army, had determined to cut him off 
entirely, and so put an end to the war.^ With difficulty and 
by the happy accident of a low tide, he crossed the mouth 
of the Somme and found himself in his own maternal inherit- 
ance of Ponthieu, and for that special reason encamped 
near the forest of Cressy, fifteen miles east of Abbeville : " I 
am," he said, " on the right heritage of Madam my mother, 
which was given her in do^^Ty ; I will defend it against my 
adversary, Philip of Valois." It was Saturday, the 28th of 

* See the Interesting details of the rea-som, in the third edition of M. Sey- 

battle, in Arch., vol xxvili., taken from mour de Constant's Essay on the same 

records in the Town Hall at Abbeville. subject. It is possible tliat the local 

The scene of the battle has been the traditions may be groundless, but I nevei 

subject of much controversy. An able, saw any place (out of Scotland) where 

though prejudiced atUck on the tradi- the recollection of a pa."5t event had struck 

tional field, is contained in a Memoir on such root in the minds of the peasantry, 

the subject by M. Aml>ert, a French M. Ajnbert represents the event, not as a 

officer (SpecUteur Militairc, 1845, Paris, battle, but as " un acciiUnt social," " un 

Rue Jacob, 30), which has been in turn 4v^ne»unt politique et social," " UH choc"* 

impugned, as it seems to me with good ^ uru critt revolulionnairt." 

134 Battle of Cressy^ [i34C 

August, 1346, and it was at four in the afternoon that the 
battle commenced. It always helps us better to imagine 
any remarkable event, when we know at what time of the 
day or night it took place; and on this occasion it is of 
great importance, because it helps us at once to answer 
the third question we asked — how was the battle won ? The 
French army had advanced from Abbeville after a hard 
day's march to overtake the retiring enemy. All along the 
road, and flooding the hedgeless plains, which bordered the 
road, the army, swelled by the surrounding peasantr}', rolled 
along, crying, "Kill! kill"! drawing their swords, and 
thinking that they were sure of their prey. A\Tiat the French 
King chiefly relied upon (besides his great numbers) was the 
troop of fifteen thousand cross-bowmen from Genoa, These 
were made to stand in front : when, just as the engagement 
was about to take place, one of those extraordinary incidents 
occurred, which often turn the fate of battles, as they do of 
human life in general. A tremendous storm gathered from 
the west, and broke in thunder, and rain, and hail, on the 
field of battle. The sky was darkened, and the horror was 
increased by the hoarse cries of crows and ravens, which 
fluttered before the storm, and struck terror into the hearts 
of the Italian bowmen, who were unaccustomed to these 
northern tempests. And when at last the sky had cleared, 
and they prepared their cross-bows to shoot, the strings had 
been so wet by the rain that they could not draw them. By 
this time the evening sun streamed out in full splendour * 
over the black clouds of the western sky — right in their 
faces; and at the same moment the English archers, who 
had kept their bows in cases during the storm, and so had 
theii strings dry, let fly their arrows so fast and thick, that 
those who were present could only compare it to snow or 
sleeL Through and through the heads, and necks, and 
hands of the Genoese bowmen, the arrows pierced. Unable 

* A sun issuing from a cloud was the bad^e of ihe Black Prince, probably from 
this occurrence.— Arch., xx. 106. 

1346.] Battle of Cressy, 135 

to stand it, they turned and fled; and from that moment 
the panic and confusion was so great that the day was lost. 

But though the storm, and the sun and the archers had 
their part, we must not forget the Prince. He was, we must 
remember, only sixteen, and yet he commanded the whole 
English army. It is said that the reason of this was, that 
the King of France had been so bent on destroying the 
English forces, that he had hoisted the sacred banner of 
France' — the great scarlet flag, embroidered with golden 
lilies, called the Oriflamme — as a sign that no quarter would 
be given; and that when King Edward saw this, and saw 
the hazard to which he should expose not only the army, 
but the whole kingdom, if he were to fall in battle, he 
determined to leave it to his son. On the top of a windmill, 
of which the solid tower still is to be seen on the ridge over- 
hanging the field, the King, for whatever reason, remained 
bareheaded, whilst the young Prince, who had been knighted* 
a month before, went forward with his companions in arms, 
into the very thick of the fray ; and when his father saw that 
the victory was virtually gained, he forebore to interfere. 
" Let the child win his spurSy" he said, in words which have 
since become a proverb, "and Id the day he his.^* The 
Prince was in very great danger at one moment; he was 
wounded and thrown to the ground, and only saved by 
Richard de Beaumont, who carried the great banner of 
Wales, throwing the banner over the boy as he lay on the 
ground, and standing upon it till he had driven back the 
assailants. 3 The assailants were driven back, and far through 
the long summer evening, and deep into the summer night, 
the battle raged It was not till all was dark, that the Prince 
and his companions halted from their pursuit ; and then huge 
fixes and torches were lit up, that the King might see where 

» The Oriflamme of France, like the "Holy War;" that is, a war of exter- 

grc«n Standard of the Prophet in the mination. 

Turkish Empire, had theeffect of declar- » Arch., xxx\. 3. 

iog the war to be what was called a * Arch., xxxviii. 184. 

1 36 Name of " Black Prince^ [i346. 

they were. And then took place the touching interview 
between the father and the son ; the King embracing the 
boy in front of the whole army, by the red light of the blazing 
fires, and saying, ^^ Sweet son ^ God give you good perseverance ; 
you are my true son — right loyally have you acquitted yourself 
this day, and worthy are you of a crown" — and the young 
Prince, after the reverential manner of those times, "bowed 
to the ground, and gave all the honour to the King his 
father." The next day the King walked over the field of 
carnage with the Prince, and said, " What thi?ik you of a 
battle, is it an agreeable game / " ' 

The general result of the battle was the deliverance of 
the English army from a most imminent danger, and subse- 
quently the conquest of Calais, which the King immediately 
besieged and won, and which remained in the possession 0/ 
the English from that day to the reign of Queen Mary. 
From that time the Prince became the darling of the 
English, and the terror of the French ; and, whether from 
this terror, or from the black armour which he wore on 
that day,' and which contrasted with the fairness of his 
complexion, he was called by them "Le Prince Noir," the 
Black Prince,3 and from them the name has passed to us ; 
Fo that all his other sounding titles, by which the old poems 
call him — " Prince of Wales, Duke of Aquitaine," — are 
lost in the one memorable naniC which he won for himself 
in his first fight at Cressy. 

[1356.] And now we pass over ten years, and find him on 
the field of Poitiers. Again we must ask, what brought him 
there, and why the battle was fought? He was this time 
alone ; his father, though the war had rolled on since the 
battle of Cressy, was in England. But, in other respects, 

' Arch., zxzviii. 187. speaks of the black drapery of his "hall," 

■ The King dressed his son before the the black banners, and the black devices 

battle "en arinure noire en fer bruni." which he used in tournaments. We may 

—See Louandre, llistoire d'Abbevillc, p. compare, too, the black pony upon which 

tjo. he rode, on his famous entry iulo Londoa 

• See his Will (App. p 164), where ha (Froissart). 

1356.] Battle of Poitiers, 1 37 

the beginning of the fight was very like that of Cressy. 
Gascony belonged to him by right, and from this he made a 
descent into the neighbouring provinces, and was on his 
return home, when the King of France — John, the son of 
Philip — pursued him as his father had pursued Edward 
III., and overtook him suddenly on the high upland fields, 
which extended for many miles south of the city of Poitiers. 
It is the third great battle which has been fought in that 
neighbourhood — the first was that in which Clovis defeated 
the Goths, and established the faith in the Creed of Athana- 
sius throughout Europe — the second was that in which 
Charles Martel drove back the Saracens, and saved Europe 
from Mahometanism — the third was this, the most brilliant 
of English victories over the French.* The spot, which is 
about six miles south of Poitiers, is still kno"WTi by the name 
of the Battle-field. Its features are very slightly marked — 
two ridges of rising ground, parted by a gentle hollow; 
behind the highest of these two ridges is a large tract of 
copse and underwood, and leading up to it from the hollow 
is a somewhat steep lane, there shut in by woods and vines 
on each side. It was on this ridge that the Prince had 
taken up his position, and it was solely by the good use 
which he made of this position that the victory was won. 

* The battle of CTovIs is believed to Maupertuis, between Beauvolr and the 
have been at Voulon, on the road to Abbey of Nouill^." There is a place 
Bordeaux,— that of Charles Marte' is un- called Maupertuis near a village Beauvoir, 
certain. These three battles (with that on the north of Poitiers, which has led 
of Moncontour, fought not far off, in 1569, some to transfer the battle thither ; but, 
after the siege of Poitiers, by Admiral besides the general arguments, both from 
Collgny) are well described by M. S. tradition and from the probabilities of the 
Hippolyte, in a number of the "Spec- case in favour of the southern site, there 
tateur Militalrc." F«r my acquaintance is a deed in the municipal archives of 
with this work, as well ax for any details Poitiers, in which the farm-house now 
which follow relating to the battle, I am called La Cardinierc (from its owner Car- 
indebted to the kindness and courtesy of dina, to whom it was granted by Louis 
M. Foucart, of Poitiers, in whose company XIV., like many estates in the ncigh- 
I visited the field of battle, in the summer bourhood, called from their owners) Is 
of 1851. The site of the field has been said to be "alias Maupertuis." The fine 
much contested by antiquaries, but now Gothic ruin of the Abbey of Nouillrf also 
•ppean to be fixed beyond dispute. The remains, « quarter of an hour's walk from 
iMUUt U uid to have been fought " at the field. 

138 Battle of Potters, [1356. 

The French army was arranged on the other side of the 
hollow in three great divisions, of which the King's was the 
hindmost ; the farm-house which marks the spot where this 
division was posted is visible from the walls of Poitiers. It 
was on Monday, Sept. 19, 1356, at 9 a.m., that the battle 
began. All the Sunday had been taken up by fruitless en- 
deavours of Cardinal Talleyrand to save the bloodshed, by 
bringing the King and Prince to terms ; a fact to be noticed 
for two reasons, first because it shows the sincere and 
Christian desire which animated the clergy of tliose times, 
in the midst of all their faults, to promote peace and good- 
will amongst the savage men with whom they lived ; and 
secondly because the refusal of the French King and Prince 
to be persuaded shows, on this occasion, the confidence of 
victory which had possessed them. 

The Prince offered to give up all the castles and prisoners 
he had taken, and to swear not to fight in France again for 
seven years. But the King would hear of nothing but his 
absolute surrender of himself and his army on tlie spot 
The Cardinal laboured till the very last moment, and tlien 
rode back to Poitiers, having equally offended both parties. 
The story of the battle, if we remember the position of the 
armies, is told in a moment. The Prince remained firm in 
his position : the French charged with their usual chivalrous 
ardour — charged up the lane ; tlie English archers, whom 
the Prince had stationed behind the hedges on each side, let fly 
their showers of arrows, as at Cressy ; in an instant the lane 
was choked with the dead ; and the first check of such head- 
strong confidence was fatal. Here, as at Cressy, was exem- 
plified the truth of the remark of the medieval historian, — 
" We now no longer contest our battles, as did tlie Greeks 
and Romans ; the first stroke decides all." ' The Prince in 
his turn charged ; a general panic seized the whole French 
army; the first and second division fled in the vsildest 

' Lanone, quoted in M. AmTjcrt's Memoir on Cressy, p. i|. 

1356.] Battle of Poitiers, 139 

confusion ; the third alone where King John stood made a 
gallant resistance; the King was taken prisoner, and by 
noon the whole was over. Up to the gates of the town of 
Poitiers the French army fled and fell; and their dead bodies 
were buried by heaps within a convent which still remains 
in the city. It was a wonderful day. It was 8000 to 
60,000 ; the Prince who had gained the battle was still only 
twenty-six, that is a year younger than Napoleon at the 
beginning of his campaigns, and the battle was distinguished 
from among all others, by the number, not of the slain but 
of the prisoners — one Englishman often taking four or five 

" The day of the battle at night, the Prince gave a supper 
in his lodgings to the French King, and to most of the great 
lords that were prisoners. The Prince caused the King and 
his son to sit at one table, and other lords, knights, and 
squires at the others \ and the Prince always served the 
King very humbly, and would not sit at the King's table, 
although he requested him — he said he was not qualified to 
sit at the table with so great a prince as the King was. 
Then he said to the King, * Sir, for God's sake make no bad 
cheer, though your will was not accomplished this day. 
For, Sir, the King, my father, will certainly bestow on you 
as much honour and friendship as he can, and will agree 
with you so reasonably that you shall ever after be friends ; 
and. Sir, I think you ought to rejoice, though the battle be 
not as you will, for you have this day gained the high honour 
of prowess, and have surpassed all others on your side in 
valour. Sir, I say not this in raillery', for all our party, who 
saw every man's deeds, agree in tliis, and give you the palm 

* Seethe despatch addressed by the logia, i. 213). It winds up with a list of 
Black Prince to the Bishop of Worcester prisoners, and finishes thus : — 
a month after the engagement (Archaeo- 

"Et sont pris, etc., des gentz d'armes M.ixc.xxxiii.— Gaudcte In Domino 
" Et outre sent mortz mmccccxxvi. Itcrum dico Gaudete !" 

It is remarkable that he notices that he had «et out on his expedition on the eve of 
th« Translation of St. Thomas. 

140 TJie Prince visits Canterbury, 

and chaplet' Therewith the Frenchmen whispered among 
themselves that the Prince had spoken nobly, and that most 
probably he would prove a great hero, if God preserved his 
life, to persevere in such good fortune." 

It was after this great battle that we first hear of the 
Prince's connection with Canterbury. There is, it is true, 
a strange contradiction between ^ the English and French 
historians as to the spot of the Prince's landing and the 
course of his subsequent journey. But the usual story, as 
told by Froissart, is as follows : — 

[1357-] On the 1 6th of April, 1357, the Prince with the 
French King landed at Sandwich; there they stayed two 
days, and on the 19th entered Canterbury. Simon of Islip 
was now Archbishop, and he probably would be there to 
greet them. The French King, if we may suppose that the 
same course was adopted here as when they reached London, 
rode on a magnificent cream-coloured charger, the Prince on 
a little black pony at his side. They came into the Cathe- 
dral, and made their offerings at the shrine of St. Thomas. 
Tradition' says, but without any probability of truth, that the 
old room above St. Anselm's Chapel was used as King 
John's prison. He may possibly have seen it, but he is 
hardly likely to have lived there. At any rate they were 
only here for a day, and then again advanced on their road 
to London. One other tradition we may perhaps connect 
with this visit Behind the hospital at Harbledo^^'n is an 
old well, still called " the Black Prince's well." If this is 
the only time that he passed through Canterbury — and it 
is the only time that we hear of — then we may suppose that 
in the steep road underneath the hospital he halted, as we 
know that all pilgrims did, to see Bccket's shoe, which was 
kept in the hospital, and that he may have gone down on 
the other side of the hill to wash, as others did, in the water 
of the spring; and we may well suppose that such an 

* See Appendix. p. 363. For his later visit to Canterbury, 

' Gosding, " Walks about Canterbury," see " Becket's Shrine.** 



[To/ace />, 140. 

ift f <& < •:• ^i; ■>< ■^' '^ -'•V ■?,■ '■.. -f;: <t'. ■^. < >• ■•.: ->> ■y-i ■•? -•:■ »^ -ft ^- ■& ~g 

?r-T^-i !^i !"i '^^ i-i 1^1 :-i 1^ u ivf 

•a -iftV i^^ » ■• 

q> !?■ <• 


\ToJace t- Mi- 

TJie Prince's Marriage, 141 

occasion would never be forgotten, and that his name would 
live long aftenvards in the memory of the old alms-men. 

[1363.] Canterbury, however, had soon a more substantial 
connection with the Black Prince. In 1363 he married his 
cousin Joan in the chapel at Windsor ; which witnessed na 
other royal wedding till that beautiful and touching day 
which witnessed the union of our own Prince of Wales mth 
the Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Of these nuptials 
Edward the Black Prince left a memorial in the beautiful 
chapel still to be seen in the crypt of the Cathedral, where 
two priests were to pray for his soul, first in his lifetime, and 
also, according to the practice of those times, after his death. 
It is now, by a strange turn of fortune, which adds another 
link to the historical interest of the place, the entrance to 
the chapel of the French congregation — the descendants of 
the very nation whom he conquered at Poitiers ; but you 
can still trace the situation of the two altars where his priests 
stood, and on the groined vaultings you can see his arms, 
and the arms of his father, and, in connection with the joyful 
event, in thankfulness for which he founded the chapel, what 
seems to be the face of his beautiful wife, commonly known 
as the Fair Maid of Kent. For the permission to found 
this chantry, he left to the Chapter of Canterbury an estate 
which still belongs to them, not far from his own Palace of 
Kennington and from the road still called the "Prince's 
Road," — the manor of " Fawkes' Hall." This ancient name- 
sake of the more celebrated Guy was, as we learn from legal 
records, a powerful baron in the reign of John, and received 
from that king a grant of land in South Lambeth, where he 
built a hall or mansion-house, called from him Fawkes' Hall, 
or " La Salle de Fawkes." He would have little thought of 
the strange and universal fame his house would acquire in the 
form in which we are now so familiar with it in the gardens, 
the factories, the bridge, and the railway station of Vauxhall.^ 

' See Apj>«ndix. For the history of Fawke5, see Fo&s's Judjei, ToL U. p. ^s^ 
Archxolojjical Journal, vol iv. p. 275. 


142 S/>a?iish Campaigit. 

[1366.] And now we have to go again over ten years, ar.d 
wc Hnd the Prince engaged in a war in Spain, helping Den 
Pedro, King of Spain, against his brother. But this would 
take us too far away — I will only say that here also he won 
a most brilliant victory, the battle of Nejara, in 1367, and it 
is interesting to remember that the first great commander of 
the English armies had a peninsular war to fight as well 
as the last, and that the flower of English chivalry led his 
troops through the pass of Roncesvalles, 

"Where Charlemagne and all his peerage fell," 

in the days of the old rom.ances. 

[1376.] Once again, then, we pass over ten years — for, by 
a singular coincidence, which has been observed by others, 
the life of the Prince thus naturally divides itself — and we 
find ourselves at the end, at that last scene which is, in fact, 
the main connection of the Black Prince with Canterbur}\ 
The expedition to Spain, though accompanied by one 
splendid victory, had ended disastrously. From that moment 
the fortunes of the Prince were overcast A long and 
wasting illness, which he contracted in the southern climate 
of Spain, broke down his constitution; a rebellion occasioned 
by his o\vn wastefulness, which was one of the faults of his 
character, burst forth in his French provinces ; his father 
was now sinking in years, and surrounded by unwort'iy 
favourites — such was the state in which the Prince returned, 
for^the last time, to England. For four years he lived in 
almost entire seclusion at Berkhampstead, in preparation for 
his approaching end; often he fell into long fainting fits, 
which his attendants mistook for death. One of the tradi- 
tions which connects his name with the well at Ilarbledown, 
speaks of his having had the water ' brought thence to him 
as he lay sick — or, according to a more common but ground- 

* There Is no doubt that the well has of Lanfranc's lelection of that spot for his 
alwnysheen supposed to possess medicinal leper-house. 

qii;»liti-s. and ihiswas {irobably llie cause 

Appearance in Parliament, 143 

less story, dying — in the Archbishop's palace at Car.terbury. 
Once more, however, his youthful energy, though in a 
different form, shot up in an expiring flame. His father, I 
have said, was sinking into dotage, and the favoiurites of the 
court were taking advantage of him, to waste the public 
money. Parliament met — Parliament, as you must re- 
member, unlike the two great Houses which now sway the 
destiny of the empire, but still feeling its way towards its 
present powers — Parliament met to check this growing evil ; 
and then it was that when they looked round in vain for a 
leader to guide their counsels and support their wavering 
resolutions, the dying Prince came forth from his long retire- 
ment, and was carried up to London, to assist his country 
in this time of its utmost need His own residence was a 
palace which stood on what is now called Fish Street Hill, 
the street opposite the London monument. But he would 
not rest there: he was brought to the Royal Palace of 
Westminster, that he might be close at hand to be carried 
from his sick bed to the Parliament, which met in the 
chambers of the Palace. This was on the 28th of April, 
1376. The spirit of the Parliament and the nation revived 
as they saw him, and the purpose for which he came was 
accomplished. But it was his last effort Day by day his 
strength ebbed away, and he never again moved from the 
Palace at Westminster. On the 7th of June he signed his 
will, by which, as we shall presently see, directions were 
given for his funeral and tomb. On the 8th he rapidly 
sank. The beginning of his end cannot be better told than 
in the words of the herald Chandos, who had attended him 
in all his wars, and who was probably present : — 

Then the Prince caused his chambers to be opened 

And all his followers to come in, 

Who in his time had served him, 

And served him with a free will ; 

** Sirs," said he, *' pardon mc 

For, by the faith I owe you, 

144 Deathbeds 

You have served me loyally, 

Though I cannot of my means 

Render to each his guerdon ; 

But God by his most holy najno 

And saints, will render it you." 

Then each wept heartily 

And mourned right tenderly, 

All who were there present, 

Earl, baron, and batchelor ; 

Then he said in a clear voice, 

•* I recommend to you my son, 

Who is yet but young and small, 

And pray, that as you served me 

So from your heart you would serve hira,' 

Then he called tlie Iving his father. 

And the Duke of Lancaster his brother. 

And commended to them his wife, 

And his son, whom he greatly loved, 

And straightway entreated them ; 

And each was willing to give his aid, 

Each swore upon the book. 

And they promised him freely 

That they would comfort his son 

And maintain him in his right ; 

All the princes and barons 

Swore all round to this. 

And the noble Prince of fame 

Gave them an hundred thousand thanks. 

But till then, so God aid me. 

Never was seen such bitter grief 

As was at his departure. 

The right noble excellent Piince 

Felt such pain at heart. 

That it almost burst 

"With moaning and sighing, 

And cr)'ing out in his pain 

So great suffering did he endure. 

That there was no man living 

\\\\o had seen his agony, 

But would heartily have pitied him.* 

' Chandos's " roem of the Tbck Roxburghe Club, by the Rev. H. O, Coxc, 
Prince/' edited and tran.s!ated for the Sub-librarian of the Bodleian library at 

Exorcism by tJie Bishop of Bangor. 145 

In this last agony he was, as he had been through Hfe, 
specially attentive to the wants of his servants and depen- 
dants ; and after having made them large gifts, he called his 
little son to his bedside, and charged him on pain of his 
curse never to take them away from them as long as he lived. 

The doors still remained open, and his attendants were 
constantly passing and re-passing, down to the least page, to 
see their dying master. Such a deathbed had hardly been 
seen since the army of Alexander the Great defiled through 
his room, during his last illness. As the day wore away, a 
scene occurred which showed how, even at that moment, the 
stem spirit of his father still lived on in his shattered frame. 
A knight, Sir Richard Strong by name, who had Ox^ended 
him by the evil counsel he had given to the King, came in 
with the rest. Instantly the Prince broke out into a harsh 
rebuke, and told him to leave the room, and see his face no 
more. This burst of passion was too much for him. — he 
sank into a fainting fit — the end was evidently near at hand ; 
and the Bishop of Bangor, who was standing by the bedside 
of the dying, struck perhaps by the scene which had 
just occurred, strongly exhorted him from the bottom of his 
heart to forgive all his enemies, and ask forgiveness of God 
and of men. The Prince replied, " I will." But the good 
Bishop was not so to be satisfied. Again he urged, *' It 
sufl!ices not to say only * I will,' but where you liave power, 
you ought to declare it in words, and to ask pardon." Again 
and again the Prince doggedly answered, " I will." The 
Bishop was deeply grieved, and, in the belief of those times, 
of which we may still admire the spirit, though the form 
both of his act and expression has long since passed away, 
he said, " An evil spirit holds his tongue — wc must drive it 
away, or he will die in his sins." And so saying, he sprinkled 
holy water over the four corners of the room, and commanded 

Oxford. May I take this opportunity of when I have had the pleasure of referring 
exprejuiinc my grateful sense of his assist- to him ? 
aii(.c OD t>us and on all other occasions 

146 I^Iis Death. 

the evil spirit to depart. The Prince was vexed by an evil 
spirit, though not in the sense in which the good Bishop 
meant it ; he was vexed by the evil spirit of bitter revenge, 
which was the curse of those feudal times, and which now, 
thank God, though it still lingers amongst us, has ceased to 
haunt those noble souls' which then were its especial prey. 
That evil spirit did depart, though not perhaps by the means 
then used to expel it ; the Christian words of the good man 
had produced their effect, and in a moment the Prince's 
whole look and manner was altered. He joined his hands, 
lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, " I give tliee thanks, 

God, for all thy benefits, and with all the pains of my soul 

1 humbly beseech thy mercy to give me remission of those 
sins I have wickedly committed against thee; and of all 
mortal men whom, wilHngly or ignorantly, I have offended, 
with all my heart I desire forgiveness." With these words, 
which seem to have been the last effort of exliausted nature, 
he immediately expired^ 

It was at 3 P.M., on Trinity Sunday — a festival which he 
had always honoured with especial reverence : it was on the 
8th of June, just one month before his birthday, in his forty- 
sixth year — the same age which has closed the career of so 
many illustrious men both in peace and war — that the Black 
Prince breathed his last 

Far and wide the mourning spread when the news was 
kno\vn. Even amongst his enemies, in the beautiful chapel 
of the palace of the French kings — called the Sainte Chapelle, 
or Ploly Chapel — funeral services were celebrated by King 
Louis, son of that King John whom he had taken prisoner 
at Poitiers. Most deeply, of course, was the loss felt in his 
own family and circle, of which he had been so long the 
pride and ornament His companion in arms, the Captal 
de Buch, was so heart-broken that he refused to take any 
food, and in a few days died of starvation and grief. His 

' ArctueoL xxU. S19. 

MoiiVfiing, 147 

father, already shaken in strength and years, never recovered 
the blow, and lingered on only for one more year. 

** Mighty victor, mighty lord — 
Low on his funeral couch he lies. 
Is the sable warrior fled ? 
Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead,*' 

But most striking was the mourning of the whole English 
nation. Seldom, if ever, has the death of one man so 
deeply struck the sympathy of the English people. Oar 
fathers saw the mourning of the whole country over the 
Princess Charlotte, and the great funeral procession which 
conveyed the remains of Nelson to their resting-place in St. 
Paul's — we ourselves have seen the deep grief over the sud- 
den death of our most illustrious statesman — we know what 
is the feeling \Ndth which we should at this moment ' regard 
the loss of the great commander who, perhaps more than 
any other single person, has filled in our minds the place of 
the Black Prince. But in order to appreciate the mourning 
of the people when Edward Plantagenet passed away, v/e 
must combine all these feelings. He was the cherished heir 
to the throne of England, and his untimely death would 
leave the crown in the hands of a child, the prey, as was 
attenvards proved, to popular seditions, and to ambitious 
rivals. He was the great soldier, " in whose health the 
hopes of Englishmen had flourished, in whose distress they 
had languished, in whose death they had died. In his life 
they had feared no invasion, no encounter in battle \ he went 
against no army that he did not conquer, he attacked no 
city that he did not take," and now to whom were tliey to 
look ? The last time they had seen him in public was as the 
champion of popular rights against a profligate coiu-t, as 
fearless in the House of Parliament as he had been on the 
field of battle. And yet more, he died at a moment when 

' ThU was written in June, 1853, and actually took place in the autumn of thut 
(with all that follows) has been left i;ii- year, will occur to every ons. 
altered. Ihe coiacidcnces with wi.:<t 

148 His Fuller aL 

all was adverse and threatening — when all was blank in the 
future, and that future was dark with cloud and stoniL John 
WycliiTe, with whom we parted at Oxford thirty years ago, 
had already begun to proclaim those great changes which 
shook to their centre the institutions of the country. There 
were mutterings, too, of risings in classes hitherto not thought 
of — Wat Tyler and Jack Cade were already on the horizon 
of Kent and of England ; and in the rivalry of the King's 
sons, now left without an acknowledged chief, were already 
laid the seeds of the long and dreadful wars of the houses of 
York and Lancaster. 

It is by remembering these feelings that we shall best 
enter into the closing scene, with which we are here so 
nearly connected. 

For nearly four months — from the 8th of June to the 
29th of September — the cofhned body lay in state at West- 
minster, and then, as soon as Parliament met again, as usual 
in those times, on the festival of Michaelmas, was brought 
to Canterbury. It was laid in a stately hearse, drawn by 
twelve black horses, and the whole Court, and both Houses 
of Parliament, followed in deep mourning. The great pro- 
cession started from Westminster Palace ; it passed through 
what was then the little village of Charing, clustered in the 
midst of the open fields of St. Martin, round Queen Eleanor s 
Cross. It passed along the Strand, by the houses of the 
great nobles, who had so often fought side by side with him 
in his wars, and tlie Savoy Palace, where, twenty years 
before, he had lodged the French King as his prisoner in 
triumpli. It passed under the shade of the lofty tower of 
the old Cathedral of St Paul's, which had so often resounded 
with Te Deums for his victories. It descended the steep 
hill, overhung by the grey walls of his own Palace, above 
London Bridge, and over that ancient bridge, then the only 
bridge in London, it moved onwards on its road to Canter- 
bury — that same road which at this very time had become 
so well kno\>'n from Chaucer's " Canterbury Tales." 

His FuneraL 149 

On entering Canterbury they paused at the west gate of 
Canterbury — not the one which now stands there, which was 
built a few years later — but an older gateway, \\4th the littlG 
chapel of Holycross at the top, surmounted by a lofty cross, 
seen far off, as the procession descended from Harbledo^vn. 
Here they were met — so the Prince had desired in his will,* 
— by tv\'o chargers, fully caparisoned, and mounted by two 
riders in complete armour — one bearing the Prince's arms 
of England and France, the other the ostrich feathers — one 
to represent the Prince in his splendid suite as he rode in war, 
the other to represent him in black, as he rode to tourna- 
ments. Four black banners followed. So they passed 
through the streets of the city, till they reached the gate of 
the Precincts. Here, according to the custom, the armed 
men ' halted, and the body was carried into the cathedral. 
In the space between tlie high altar and the choir, a bier 
was placed to receive it, whilst the funeral services were 
read, surrounded with burning tapers, and with all the 
heraldic pomp which marked his title and rank. It must 
have been an august assemblage which took part in those 
funeral prayers. The aged king, in all probability, was not 
there, but we cannot doubt that the executors were present. 
One was his rival brother John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. 
Another was his long-tried friend, William of Wykeham, 
Bishop of Winchester, whose name is still dear to hundreds 
of Englishmen, old and young, from the two magnificent 
colleges which he founded at Winchester and at Oxford. A 
third was Courtenay, Bishop of London, who now lies at the 
Prince's feet, and Simon of Sudbury, who had been Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury in the previous years — he whose 
magnificent bequests still appear in the gates and walls of 
the city — he whose fate it was to be the first to suffer in the 
troubles which the Prince's death would cause, who was 
beheaded by the rebels under Wat Tyler, on the Tower 
Hill, and whose burial was the next great funeral within the 

• See Appendix. • Sec " Murder of Eccket," pp. 86, 90, xoi. 

F 2 

150 His Tomb, 

walls of the cathedral. And now, from the choir, the body 
was again raised up, and carried to the tomb. 

We have seen already that as long as twelve years before 
the Prince had turned his thoughts to Canterbury Cathedral 
as his last home, when in remembrance of his visit to the 
shrine of St. Thomas, and of the fact that the church was 
dedicated to the Holy Trinity, which, as we have seen, he 
had honoured with especial reverence, he founded the 
chapel in the crypt. In the centre of that crypt, on the 
spot where you now see the gravestone of Archbishop 
Morton, it had been his wish to be laid, as expressed in 
the will which he signed only the day before his death. 
But those who were concerned with the funeral had pre- 
pared for him a more magnificent resting-place : not in the 
darkness of the crypt, but high aloft in the sacred space 
behind the altar, and on the south side of the shrine of St. 
Thomas, in the chapel itself of the Holy Trinity, on the 
festival of which he had expired, they determined that the 
body of the hero should be laid. That space is now sur- 
rounded with monuments ; then it was entirely, or almost 
entirely, vacant.* The gorgeous shrine stood in the centre 
on its coloured pavement, but no other corpse had been 
admitted within that venerated ground — no other, perhaps, 
would have been admitted but that of the Black Prince. 
It was twenty-seven years before the iron gates of the 
chapel would again be opened to receive the dead, and 
this too would be a royal corpse — the body of King Henry 
IV., now a child of ten years old, and perhaps present 
as a mourner in this very funeral, but destined to over- 
throw the Black Prince's son, and then to rest by his side. 

In this sacred spot — believed at that time to be the most 
sacred spot in England — the tomb stood in which " alone 
in his glory," the Prince was to be deposited, to be seen 

* The only exception could have been though not as early as Theobald to trhom 
the tomb which stands on the south-east it is commonly ascribed, must be of ibe 
tide of the Trinity Chapel, and which, beginning of the thirteenth century. 

Effects of the Princes Life, 151 

and admired by all the countless pilgrims who crawled up 
the stone steps beneath it on their way to the shrine of the 

Let us turn to that tomb, and see how it sums up his whole 
life. Its bright colours have long since faded, but enough still 
remains to show us what it was as it stood after the sacred 
remains had been placed within it. There he lies : no other 
memorial of him exists in the world so authentic. There he 
lies, as he had directed, in full armour, his head resting on 
his helmet, his feet \sath the likeness of " the spurs he won " 
at Cressy, his hands joined as in that last prayer which he 
had offered up on his deathbed. There you can see his fine 
face with the Plantagenet features, the flat cheeks, and the 
well-chiselled nose, to be traced perhaps in the effigy of his 
father in Westminster Abbey, and his grandfather in Glou- 
cester Cathedral. On his armour, you can still see the 
marks of the bright gilding with which the figure was 
covered from head to foot, so as to make it look like an 
image of pure gold. High above are suspended the brazen 
gauntlets, the helmet, with what was once its gilded leopard- 
crest, and the wooden shield, the velvet coat also, embroi- 
dered with the arms of France and England, now tattered 
and colourless, but then blazing with blue and scarlet. 
There, too, still hangs the empty scabbard of the sword, 
wielded perchance at his three great battles, and which 
Oliver Cromwell, it is said, carried away.' On the canopy 
over the tomb, there is the faded representation — painted 
after the strange fashion of those times — of the Persons of 
the Holy Trinity, according to the peculiar devotion which 
he had entertained. In the pillars you can see the hooks 
to which was fastened the black tapestry, with its crimson 
border and curious embroidery, which he directed in his 
will should be hung round his tomb and the shrine of 

• An exactly analogous position, by Humphrey, Dulce of GIouccEter. 
St. Alban's shrine, \% assii^ned in the • For the history of this sword, ie% 

Abbey of St. Albans to the tomb of Appendix. 


Effects of the Prince s Life, 

Becket. Round about the tomb, too, you will see the 
ostrich feathers,* which, according to the old, but doubtful 
tradition, we are told he won at Cressy from the blind 
King of Bohemia, who perished in the thick of the fight ; 
and interwoven with them, the famous motto,' with which 
he used to sign his name, " Houmout," " Ich diene." If, 
as seems most likely, they are German words, they exactly 
express what we have seen so often in his life, the union 
of "Hoch muth," that is, high spirit, with "Ich dien," 
/ serve. They bring before us the very scene itself after 
the battle of Poitiers, where, after having vanquished the 
whole French nation, he stood behind the captive king, and 
served him like an attendant. 

And, lastly, carved about the tomb, is the long inscription, 
selected 3 by himself before his death, in Norman French, 

• The Essay by the late Sir Harris 
Nicolas, in the Archseologia, vol. xxxii., 
gives all that can be said on this disputed 
question. The ostrich feathers are first 
mentioned in 1369, on the plate of Philippa, 
and were used by all tlie sons of Edward 
II., and of all subsequent kings, till the 
t^me of Arthur, son of Henry VII., after 
which they were appropriated as now to 
the Prince of Wales. The Black Prince 
bad sometimes one ostrich feather, some- 
times, as on the tomb, three. The old 
explanation given by Camden, was that 
they indicated Jleetnesi in discharge of 
duty. The king of Bohemia's badge was 
a Vulture. 

" Houmout — Ich dien. It occurs 
twice as his autograph signature (sec 
Appendix). But its first public appear- 
ajice is on the tomb, where the words are 
written alternately above the co.-»ts of 
arms, and also on the quilU of the feathers. 
It is said, though without sufficient proof, 
that the King of Bohemia had the motto 
"Ich dien" from his following King 
Philip as a stipendiary. The Welsh an- 
tiquaries maintain that it Is a Celtic and 
not a German motto. Behold the man," 
the words used by Edward I. on present- 
ing his first-bom son to the Welsh, and 
from him derived to the subsequent 

Princes of Wales, "Behold the man," 
i.e., the male child. 

* " The epitaph is borrowed, with a few 
rariations, from the anonymous French 
translation of the ClericaHs Discipllna of 
Petrus Alphonsus, composed between the 
years 1106 and ma In the original 
Latin work it may be found at p. 196, 
pL I. of the edition printed in 1824 for tlie 
Socidtif des Bibliophiles Franr.iis. The 
French version t. of the thirteenth cen- 
tury, and entitled Castoiement d'un Pcre 
\ son Fils. It was first printed by Bar- 
bazan in 1760, and, more completely, by 
Me'on in 1808, in whose edition the epi- 
taph may be read, p. 196, under the 
heading of " D'un Philosophe qui pwissoit 
parmi un Cimentcre." The Black Prince, 
however, is not the only distinguished 
personage who has availed himself of this 
inscription, for more than h.alf a century 
previous it was placed (in an abbreviated 
form) on the monument of the famous 
John de Warenne, seventh Earl of Surrey, 
who died in 1304, and was buried before 
the high altar in the Priory of Lewes. It 
is printed by Dugdale (not very correctly) 
in his Baronage, v. I. p. 80, from tho 
Lewes Cartulary, which is preserved 
among the Cottonian MSS. in the British 
Museum, Vespas. F. xxv." — F. Maookm. 

Chivalry, 153 

still the language of the Court, written, as he begged, clearly 
and plainly, that all might read it Its purport is to contrast 
his former splendour, and vigour, and beauty, with tlie wasted 
body which is now all that is left. What was a natural 
thought at all times was specially characteristic of this 
period, as we see from the further exemplification of it in 
Chichele's tomb, a hundred years later, where the living 
man and the dead skeleton are contrasted with each other 
in actual representation. But in this case it would be 
singularly affecting, if we can suppose it to have been written 
during the four years' seclusion, when he lay wasting away 
from his Hngering illness, his high fortunes overclouded, and 
death full in prospect 

When we stand by the grave of a remarkable man, it is 
always an interesting and instructive question to ask — 
especially by the grave of such a man, and in such a place 
— what e\il is there, which we trust is buried with him in 
his tomb ? what good is there, which may still live after him? 
what is it, that, taking him from fust to last, his life and his 
death teach us ? 

First, then, the thought which we most naturally connect 
with the name of the Black Prince, is the wars of the 
English and French — the victories of England over France. 
Out of those wars much noble feeling sprung, — feelings of 
chivalry and courtesy and respect to our enemies, and 
(perhaps a doubtful boon) of unshaken confidence in our- 
selves. Such feelings are amongst our most precious in- 
heritances, and all honour be to him who first inspired them 
into the hearts of his countrymen, never to be again extinct 
But it is a matter of still greater thankfulness to remember, 
as we look at the worn-out armour of the Black Prince, that 
those wars of English conquest are buried with him, never 
to be revived. Other wars may arise in the unknown future 
still before us — but such wars as he and his father waged, 
we shall, we may thankfully hope, see no more again for 

154 Sack of Livioges, 

ever. We shall never again see a King of England, or a 
Prince of Wales, taking advantage of a legal quibble to 
conquer a great neighbouring country, and laying waste ^'ith 
fire and sword a civilised kingdom, from mere self-aggran- 
disement. We have seen how, on the eve of the battle of 
Poitiers, one good man with a patience and charity truly 
heroic did strive by all that Christian wisdom and for- 
bearance could urge to stop that unhallowed warfare. It 
is a satisfaction to think that his wish is accomplished ; that 
what he laboured to effect almost as a hopeless project, has 
now well-nigh become the law of the civilised world. It is 
true, that the wars of Edward III. and the Black Prince 
were renewed again on a more frightful scale in the next 
century, renewed at the instigation of an Archbishop of 
Canterbury, who strove thus to avert tlie storm which seemed 
to him to be threatening the Church : but these were the 
last, and the tomb and college of Chichele are themselves 
lasting monuments of the deep remorse for his sin, which 
smote his declining years. With him finished the last trace 
of those bloody wars : may nothing ever arise, in our time 
or our children's, to break the bond of peace between 
England and France, which is the bond of the peace of the 
world ! 

Secondly, he brings before us all that is most charac- 
teristic of the ages of chivalr}\ You have heard of his 
courtesy, his reverence to age and authority, his generosity 
to his fallen enemy. But before I speak of this more at 
length, here also I must in justice remind you that the evil 
as well as the good of chivalry was seen in him, and that 
this evil, lilie that which I spoke of just now, is also, I trust, 
buried with him. One single instance will show what I 
mean. In those disastrous years which ushered in the close 
of his life, a rebellion arose in his French province of 
Gascony, provoked by his wasteful expenditure. One of the 
chief towns where the insurgents held out, was Limoges. 
The Prince, though then labouring under hii fatal illness, 

Sack of Limoges, 155 

besieged and took it ; and as soon as it was taken, he gave 
orders that his soldiers should massacre every one that they 
found j whilst he himself, too ill to walk or ride, was carried 
through the streets in a litter, looking on at the carnage. 
Men, women, and children, threw themselves on their knees, 
as he passed on through the devoted city, crying, " Mercy, 
mercy;" but he went on relentlessly, and the massacre went 
on, till struck by the gallantry of three French knights, whom 
he saw fighting in one of the squares against fearful odds, he 
ordered it to cease. Now, for this dreadful scene there were 
doubtless many excuses — the irritation of illness, the affection 
for his father, whose dignity he thought outraged by so 
determined a resistance, and the indignation against the in- 
gratitude of a city on which he had bestowed many favours. 
But what is especially to be observed, is not so much the 
cruelty of the individual man, as the great imperfection of 
that kind of virtue which could allow of such cruelty'. 
Dreadful as this scene seems to us, to men of that time it 
seemed quite natural. The poet who recorded it, had 
nothing more to say concerning it, than that — 

"All the townsmen were taken or slaia 
By the noble Prince of price. 
Whereat great joy had all around. 
Those who were his friends ; 
And his enemies were 
Sorely grieved, and repented 
That they had begun the war against him.** 

This strange contradiction arose from one single cause. 
The Black Prince, and those who looked up to him as tlieir 
pattern, chivalrous, kind, and generous as they were to their 
equals, and to their immediate dependents, had no sense of 
what was due to the poor, to the middle, and the humbler 
classes generally. He could be touched by the sight of a 
captive king, or at the gallantry of the three French gentle- 
men ; but he had no ears to hear, no eyes to see, the cries 
and groans of the fathers, and mothers, and children, of the 

156 First Great English Captain ^ and 

poorer citzens, who were not bound to him by the laws of 
honour and of knighthood. It is for us to remember, as we 
stand by his grave, that whilst he has left us the legacy of 
those noble and beautiful feelings, which are the charm and 
best ornaments of life, though not its most necessary virtues, 
it is our further privilege and duty to extend those feelings 
towards the classes on whom he never cast a thought ; to 
have towards all classes of society, and to make them have 
towards each other, and towards ourselves, the high respect 
and courtesy, and kindness, which were then peculiar to one 
class only. 

It is a well-known saying in Shakspeare, that— 

** The evil which men do lives afler them ; 
The good is oft interred with their bones." 

But it is often happily just the reverse, and so it was with 
tlie Black Prince. His evil is interred with his bones ; the 
good which he has done lives after him, and to that good 
let us turn. 

He was the first great English captain, who showed what 
English soldiers were, and what they could do against 
Frenchmen, and against all the world. He was the first 
English Prince who showed what it was to be a true gentle- 
man. He was the first, but he was not the last We have 
seen how, when he died. Englishmen thought that all their 
hopes had died with him. But we know that it was not so ; 
we know that the life of a great nation is not bound up with 
the life of a single man ; we know that the valour and 
the courtesy and the chivalry of England are not buried in 
the grave of the Plantagenet Prince, It needs only a glance 
round the countr)^, to see that the high cliaracter of an 
English gentleman, of which the Black Prince was the noble 
pattern, is still to be found ever>'where ; and has since his 
time been spreading itself more and more through classes, 
which in his time seemed incapable of reaching it It needs 
only a glance dovm the nave of our o^ti Cathedral; and 

First English Gentleman, 157 

the tablets on the walls, with their tattered flags, will tell 
you, in a moment, that he as he lies up there aloft, with 
his head resting on his helmet, and his spurs on his feet, is 
but the first of a long line of English heroes — that the brave 
men who fought at Sobraon and Feroozeshah are the true 
descendants of those who fought at Cressy and Poitiers. 

And not to soldiers only, but to all who are engaged in 
the long warfare of life, is his conduct an example. To 
unite in our lives the two qualities expressed in his motto, 
"Hoch muth" and "Ich dien," "high spirit" and "reverent 
service," is to be, indeed, not only a true gentleman and a 
true soldier, but a true Christian also. To show to all who 
diifer from us, not only in war but in peace, that delicate 
forbearance, that fear of hurting another's feelings, that 
happy art of saying the right thing to the right person, which 
he showed to the captive king, would indeed add a grace 
and a charm to the whole course of this troublesome world, 
such as none can afford to lose, whether high or low. 
Happy are they, who having this gift by birth or station, use 
it for its highest purposes ! still more happy are they, who 
having it not by birth and station, have acquired it, as it may 
be acquired, by Christian gentleness and Christian charity. 

And lastly, to act in all the various difficulties of our 
everyday life, with that coolness, and calmness, and faith in 
a higher power than his own, which he showed when the 
appalling danger of his situation burst upon him at Poitiers, 
would smooth a hundred difficulties, and ensure a hundred 
victories. We often think that we have no power in ourselves, 
no advantages of position, to help us against our many 
temptations, to overcome the many obstacles we encounter. 
Let us take our stand by the Black Prince's tomb, and go 
back once more in thought to the distant fields of France. 
A slight rise in the wild upland plain, a steep lane through 
vineyards and undcnvood, this was all that he had, humanly 
speaking, on his side; but he turned it to the utmost use 
of which it could be made, and won the most glorious of 

15^ Tlie First Great English Captain, 

battles. So, in like manner, our advantages may be slight — 
hardly perceptible to any but ourselves — let us turn them to 
account, and the results will be a hundred-fold; we have 
only to adopt the Black Prince's bold and cheering words, 
when first he saw his enemies, " God is my help^ I must fight 
(hem as best I can;^^ adding that lofty, yet resigned and 
humble prayer, which he uttered when the battle was 
announced to be inevitable, and which has since become a 
proverb, " God defend the right,'* 




I.— Ordinance by Edward the Black Prince, for the Two 
Chantries, founded by him in the Undercroft of the South 
Transept, Christ Church, Canterbury. Recited in the 
Confirmation by Simon Islip, Archbishop of Canterbury, of the 
Assent and Ratification by the Prior and Chapter. Dated 
August 4, 1363. 

(Ori^. Charter in the Treasury, Canterbury, No, 145*)* 

Universis sancte matris ecclesie 
filiis ad quos presentes litere pro- 
venetint. Prior et Capitulum ec- 
clesie Christi Cantuariensis salutem 
in omnium Salvatore, Ordina- 
cionem duarum Cantariarum in 
ecclesia predicta fundatarum, unius 
videlicet in honore Sancte Trinitatis, 
ct alterius in honore Virginis glor- 
iose, inspeximus diligenter, Cujus 
quidem ordinacionis tenor sequitur 
in hec verba. Exccllencia principis 
a regalidescendens prosapia,quanto 
et honorificencius sublimatur, tanto 
ad ser\-iendum Deo prompcior esse 
debet, et cum devota graciarum 

* This document Is copied in the 
Registers B. 2, fo. 46, and F. 8, fo. 83, v% 
under this title, — Littera de Institucione 
ouartira cantariarum domini Princij/is. 
In the text here given the contracted 
words are printed /// txttnto. I acknuw- 

accione capud suum sibi humiliter 
inclinare, ne aliter pro ingratitudine 
tanti muneris merito sibi subtraha- 
tur beneficium largitiors. Sane 
nos, Edwardus, Princeps Wallie 
et serenissimi Principis ac domini 
nostri, domini Edwardi illustris 
Regis Anglie, primogenitus, pridem 
cupientes ad exaltacionem paterni 
solii nobis mulierem de genere suo 
clarissimo recipere in sociara et 
uxorem, demum post deliberaciones 
varias super diversis nobis oblatis 
matrimoniis, ad nobilem mulierem, 
dominam Johannam Comitissam 
Kancie, consanguineam dicti patris 
nostri et nostram, ipsam videlicet 

ledge with much gratification the privilege 
liberally granted to me of examining the 
ancient charters in the Treasury, amongst 
which this unpublished document ha« 
been found. 


Ordinance by tJie Black Prince 

in secundo, ct nos in tercio con- 
sanguinitatis gradibus contingen- 
tem, Dei pocius inspirante gracia 
quam hominis suasione, converti- 
mus totaliter mentem nostram, et 
ipsam, de consensu dicti domini 
patris nostri et aliorum parentura 
nostrorum, dispensacione sedis apo- 
stolice super impedimento hujus- 
modi et aliis quibus libet primitus 
obtenta, preelegimus et assumpsi- 
mus in uxorem ; Injuncto nobis 
etiam per prius eadem auctoritate 
apostolica quod duas Cantarias 
quadraginta Marcarum obtentu dis- 
pensacionis predicte ad honorera 
Dei perpetuas faceremus.* Nos 
vero, in Deo sperantes firmiter per 
acceptacionera humilem Injunc- 
cionis hujus, et efficax ipsius com- 
plementum nupcias nostras Deo 
rcddere magis placabiles, et pater- 
num solium per adeo sibi propinque 
sobolis propagacionem condecenter 
diffundere et firmius stabilire, ad 
honorein Sancte Trinitatis, quam 
peculiari devocione semper colimus, 
et bcatissime Marie, ct beati Thume 
Martyris, infra muros ecclesie 
Christi Cantuariensis, matris nostra 
prccipue et metropolitis, ad quam 
a cunabilis' nostris devocioncm 
mentis erexinius, in quodam loco 
ex parte australi ejusdem ecclesie 
constituto, quem ad hoc, de con- 
sensu reverendissimi in Christo 
patris, domini Simonis Dei gracia 
Cantuariensis Archiepiscopi, tocius 
Anglie Primatis et apostolice sedis 
Legati, et religiosoi-um virorum 

* See the Bulls of Pope Innocent VI., 
concerning the marriage of the Prince 
with Countess of Kent, Rymer, FocJ, 

Prions et Capituli ipsius ecclesie, 
designavimus, duas capellas, qua- 
rum una Sancte Trinitatis intitula- 
bitur, et altera beate et gloriosc 
Virginis Marie, sub duabus canta- 
riis duximus construcndas, ut sic ad 
dictam ecclcsiam confluenles, et 
capellas nostras intuentes, pro con- 
jugii nostri prosperitate animarum- 
que nostrarum salute deum exorare 
propcncius excitentur. In nostris 
vero Cantariis ex nunc volumus et 
statuimus, quod sint duo sacerdotes 
idonei, sobrii et honesti, non con- 
tenciosi, non querelarura aut litium 
assumptores, non incontinentes, aut 
aliter notabiliter viciosi, quorum 
correccio, punicio, admissio et 
destitucio ad Archiepiscopum, qui 
tempore fuerit, loci diocesanum 
pertineat et debeat pertinere, eorem 
tamen statum volumus esse perpe- 
tuum, nisi per mensem et amplius 
a Cantariis suis hujusmodi absque 
causa racionabili et licencia a do- 
mino Cantuariensi Archiepiscopo, 
si in diocesi sua presens fuerit, vel 
alitor a Priore dicti monasterii, 
petita pariter et optenta, absentes 
fuerint ; vel nisi viciosi et insolentes 
trinamonicioneper temporum com- 
pctencium intervalla, vel aliter trina 
correccione emendati, ab insolen- 
ciis suis desistere non curaverint ; 
quos tunc incorrigibiles seu intol- 
lerabiles censemus, et volumus per 
predictum ordinarium reputari, et 
propterea a dicta Cantaria penitus 
amoveri, nulla appellacione aut 
impetracione sedis Apostolice vel 

deit 1830, vol. ill. part 11., pp. 637, 63a. 

" SL in orig. 

Jor the two Chantries* 


regis, aut alii * juris communis seu 
spiritualis remedio amoto hujus- 
modi aliqualiter valitura. Primum 
vero et principaliorem dominum 
Johamiem Curteys, de Weldone, et 
dominum Willelmum Bateman, de 
Giddingg', secundarium, in eisdem 
nominamus et constituimus sacer- 
dotes, quorum principalis in altari 
Sancte Trinitatis, et alter in altari 
beate Marie, cum per dominum 
Archiepiscopum admissi fuerint, 
pro statu salubri nostro, prosperi- 
tate matrimonii nostri, dum vixeri- 
mus, et animabus nostris, cum ab 
hac luce subtracti fuerimus, cotidie 
celebrabunt, nisi infirmitate aut alia 
causa racionabili fuerint perpediti. 
Cum vero alter eorum cesserit loco 
suo, vel decesserit, aut ipsum dimi- 
serit, Nos, Edwardus predictus, in 
vita nostra, et post mortem nostranv 
Rex Anglie, qui pro tempore fuerit, 
ad locum sit vacantem quem pro 
tunc -secundum censemus quam 
cicius comode poterimus, saltem 
infra unius mensis spacium, dicto 
domino Archiepiscopo presenta- 
bimus et nominabimus ydoncum 
sacerdotem ; et sic, quocienscunque 
vacaverit, imperpetuum volumus 
observarL Alioquin elapso hujus- 
modi tempore liceat Archiepiscopo 
ilia vice loco sic vacante de sacer- 
dote ydoneo providere, salvo jure 
nostro et successorum nostrorum in 
hac parte, ut prefertur, in proxima 
vacatione alterius sacerdotis. Vo- 
lumus insuper et ordinamus quod 
dictus Archiepiscopus, qui fuerit, 
significata sibi morte per literas 
nostras aut successorum nostrorum 

hujusmodi vel aliter per literas 
Capellani qui supervixerit, aliquo 
sigillo autentico roboratas, statim 
absque inquisicione alia sive diffi- 
cultate qualibet presentatum seu 
nominatum hujusmodi admittat, et 
literas suas suo consacerdoti et non 
alteri super admissione sua dirigat 
sive m.ittat. Dicent vero dicti sacer- 
dotes insimul matutinas et ceteras 
horas canonicas in capella, videlicet 
sancte Trinitatis, necnon et septem 
psalmos penitenciales et quindecim 
graduales et commendacionem ante 
prandium, captata ad hoc una hora 
vel pluribus, prout viderint expe- 
dire. Et post prandium vesperas 
et completorium necnon placebo et 
dirige pro defunctis. Celebrabit 
insuper uterque ipsorum singulis 
diebus prout sequitur, nisi aliqua 
causa legitima sicut premittitur 
fuerint prepediti, unus eorum vide- 
licet singulis diebus dominicis de 
die, si voluerit, vel aliter de Trini- 
tate, et alter eorum de officio mor- 
tuorum, vel aliter de beata Virgine 
Maria. Feria secunda unus de 
festo novem lectionum, si acciderit, 
vel aliter de Angelis, et alius de 
officio mortuorum, vel de Virgine 
gloriosa. Feria tercia alter eorum 
de beato Thoma, et alius de beata 
Virgine vel officio mortuorum, nisi 
aliquod festum novem Icccionum 
advenerit, tunc enim missa de beato 
Thoma poterit pretermitti. Feria 
quarta, si a festo novem leccionum 
vacaverit, unus de Trinitate et alter 
de beata Maria virgine vel officio 
mortuorum. Feria quinta unus de 
festo Corporis Christi, et alius de 

* This word is contracted in original aV. The reading may be alii or aliter^ 

1 62 

Ordinatice by the Black Princi 

beata Virglne vel officio mortu- 
orum, si a festo novem leccionum 
vacaverit. Feria sexta, si a festo 
novem leccionum vacaverit, unus 
de beata Cruce et alter de beata 
Virgine vel officio mortuorum. 
Singulis diebus sabbati, si a festo 
novem leccionem vacaverit, unus 
de beata Virgine et alter de officio 
mortuorum. Et hoc modo cele- 
brabunt singulis diebus imperpe- 
tuum, et non celebrabunt simul et 
eadem hora, sed unus post alium, 
successive. Ante vero introitum 
missi quilibet rogabit et rogari 
publice faciat celebrans pro statu 
salubri utriusque nostrum dum vix- 
erimus, et pro animabus nostris, 
cum ab hac luce migraverimus, et 
dicet Pater et Ave, et in singulis mis- 
sis suis dum vixerimus de quocunque 
celebraverint collectam illam, — 
"Deuscujus misericordie non est 
numerus," et, cum ab hac miseria 
decesserimus, — *' Deus venie lar- 
gitor," cum devocionc debita reci- 
tabunt. Et volumus quod post 
missas suas vel ante, secundum 
eorum discrecionem difTerendum 
vel anticipandum, cum doctor aut 
lector alius in claustro monacho- 
rum more solito legcrit ibidem, nisi 
causa legitima prepediti fuerint, 
personaliter intersint, et doctrine 
sue corditer intendant, ut sic magis 
edocti Deo devocius et pcrfectius 
obsequantur. Principal! vero sacer- 
dote de medio sublato, aut aliter 
loco suo qualitcrcumque vacante, 
socius suns, qui tunc supcrstes fue- 
rit, sicut prediximus locum Princi- 
paliorem occupabit, et secundum 
locum tcnebit noNiis assumendus. 

Ordinamus etiam quod dicti sacer- 
dotes singulis annis semel ad minus 
de cadem secta vestiantur, et quod 
non utantur brevibus vestimentia 
sed talaribus secundum decenciara 
sui status. Pro mora siquidem 
dictorum sacerdotum assignavimus 
quemdam habitacionis locum juxta 
Elemosinariam dicti Monasterii, in 
quo construetur ad usum et habita- 
cionem eorum una Aula communis 
in qua simul cotidianam sument 
rcfeccioncm, una cum quadam Ca- 
mera per Cancellum dividenda, ita 
quod in utraque parte sic divisa sit 
locus sufficiens pro uno lecto com- 
petent!, necnon et pro uno camino 
nostris sumptibus erigendo. Ita 
tamen quod camera hujusmodi uni- 
cum habeat ostium pro Capellano- 
rum ingrcssu et egressu. Cujus 
locum divisum viciniorem princi- 
paliori sacerdoti intitulari volumus 
et mandamus ; sub qua Camera 
officia eis utilia constituent prout 
eis magis vides bilur expedire. Co- 
quinam etiam habebunt compcten- 
tem ; quas quidem domus nostris 
primo sumptibus construendas pre- 
fati religiosi viri, Prior et Capitu- 
lum, quociens opus fuerit, repara- 
bunt ac cciara rcformabunt De 
habitacione vero ipsorum hujus- 
modi liberum habebunt ingressum 
ad dictas capellas, et rcgressum 
pro temporibus et horis compe- 
tentibus, ac retroactis temporibus 
pro ingressu secularium consuetis, 
Comedcnt eciam insimul in Aula 
sua cum perfecta fuerit, in ipsorum 
quoque cameris, ct non alibi, re- 
quicsccnt Ad hec dicti sacerdoles 
vestimenta et alia omamenla dicte 

for the two Chantries. 


Capelle assignanda fideliter con- 
servabunt, et cum mundacione aut 
reparacione aliqua indigerint, pre- 
dict! religiosi viri, Prior et Capi- 
hdum suis sumptibus facient repa- 
rari, et alia nova quociens opus 
fiierit inveteratis et inutilibus subro- 
gabunt Percipiet quidem uterque 
eorundem sacerdotum annis sin- 
gulis de * Priore et Capitulo supra- 
dictis viginti marcas ad duos anni 
terminos, videlicet, ad festa sancti 
Michaelis et Pasche, per equales 
porciones, necnon ab eisdem Priore 
et Capitulo ministrabitur ipsis Ca- 
pellanis de pane, vino, et cera, ad 
sufficienciam, pro divinis officiis 
celebrandis. Ita videlicet quod in 
matutinis, vesperis et horis sit con- 
tinue cereus unus accensus, et missa 
quacumque duo alii cerei ad utrum- 
que altare predictum. Quod si 
prefati Prior et Capitulum dictas 
pecunie summas in aiiquo dictorum 
terminorum, cessante causa legi- 
tima, solvere distulerint ultra tri- 
ginta dies ad majus, extunc sint 
ipso facto ab execucione divinorum 
oflficiorum, suspensi, quousque ipsis 
Capellanis de arreragiis fuerit ple- 
narie satisfactum. Pro supporta- 
cione vero predictorum onerum 
dictis Priori et Capitulo, ut pre- 
mittitur, incumbencium, de licencia 
excellentissimi Principis domini 
patris nostri supradicti dedimus, 
concessimus et assignavimus eisdem 
Priori ct Capitulo, eorumque suc- 
ccssoribus, manerium nostrum de 
Faukeshalle juxta London*, prout 

in cartis ejusdem patris nostri et 
nostris plenius continetur. Jurabit 
insuper uterque eorundem sacer- 
dotum coram domino Archiepis- 
copo, qui pro tempore fuerit, in 
admissione sua, quod banc crdi- 
nacionem nostram observabit et 
faciet, quantum eum concemit et 
sibi facultas prestabitur, in omnibus 
observari. Jurabunt insuper iidem 
sacerdotes Priori dicti Loci obedi- 
enciam, et quod nullum dampnum 
inferent dicto monasterio vel per 
sonis ejusdem injuriam seu gra- 
vamen. Rursum, si in presenti 
nostra ordinacione processu tera- 
poris inveniatur aliquod dubium 
seu obscurum, iUud interpretandi, 
innovandi, corrigendiet eidem ordi- 
nacioni nostre addendi, diminuendi 
et declarandi, nobis quamdiu vix- 
erimus, et post mortem nostram 
reverendo patri, domino Archi 
episcopo Cantuariensi, qui pro tem- 
pore fuerit, specialiter reservamus.* 
Cui quidem ordinacioni sic salu- 
briter composite et confecte tenore 
presencium nostrum prebemus as- 
sensum, onera nobis in eadem im- 
posita agnoscimus, et cetera in 
eadem ordinacione contenta, quan- 
tum ad nos attinet vel attinere in 
futurum poterit, approbamus, ra- 
tificamus, et eciam confirmamus. 
In quorum omnium testimonium 
sigillum nostrum commune presen- 
tibus est appensum. Datura in 
dome nostra Capitulari Cantuar' 
ij*. Non* Augusti, Anno dom::u 
Millesimo Trescentesimo sexa- 

* In the'original — et Priore. 
■ The word jut teenis to be omitted 
hi thii MQtencc, of which the sense as it 

stands Is Incomplete. 
the Ordinance ends. 

Here the recital of 

1 64 

Will of the Black Prince. 

gesimo tercio. Et nos, Simon, 
pennissione divina Archiepiscopus 
Cantuariensis, supradictus, per- 
missa omnia et singula quatenus 
ad nos attinet autorizamus, appro- 
bamus, ratificamus et tenore pre- 
sencium auctoritate nostra ordinaria 
confirmamus. In cujus rei testi- 
monium sigillum nostrum fecimus 
hiis apponi. Datum eciam Can- 

tuar' die, anno et loco supradictis, 
et noslre consecracionis anno quar- 
todecimo. (L.S. Seal lost.) 

Endorsed. — Confirmacio Archi- 
episcopi et Conventus super 
Cantarias Edwardi principis 
Wallie in ecclesia nostra in 
criptis.' In a later hand, — 

IL — ^The Will of Edward Prince of Wales, a.d. 1376.' 

CopiA Testament! Principis Wall*. 

{J^egister of Archbishop Sudbury^ in the Registry at Lambeth^fol. 90 h^ and 

91 a and b.) 

En noun du Pere, du Filz, et de 
Saint Espirit, Amen. Nous, Ed- 
uuard, eisne filz du Roy d'Engle- 
tere et de Fraunce, prince de 
Gales, due de Comwaille, et counte 
de Cestre, le vij. jour de Juyn, I'an 
de grace mil troiscentz septantz et 
sismc, en notre chambre dedeyns 
le palois de notre tresredote seig- 
nour et pere le Roy ^ West'm 
esteantz en bon et sain memoire, 
et eiantz consideracion \ le brieve 
duree de humaine freletee, et come 
non certein est le temps de sa reso- 
lucion \ la divine volunte, et de 
siranz toujourz d'estre prest ove 

* This document bears the following 
cumbers, by which It has been classed 
at various times :— 45 (erased.)— Duplex 
ri (erased) A — C. 166.— C 145, the 
latter being the right reference, accord- 
lag to the Indices now In use. 

• The following document was printed 
by Mr. Nichols In his "Collection of 

I'eide de dieu \ sa disposicioun, 
ordenons et fesons notre testament 
en la manere qe ensuyt. Prime- 
rement nous devisons notre alme 
^ Dieu notre Creatour, et \ la 
seinte benoite Trinite et i la glo- 
rieuse virgine Marie, et «i touz iez 
sainz et seintez ; et notre corps 
d'estre enseveliz en I'eglise Cathe- 
drale de la Trinite de Canterbirs, 
ou le corps du vray martir mon- 
seignour Seint Thomas repose, en 
mylieu de la chapelle de notre 
dame Under Crofte, droitement de- 
vant I'autier, siqe le bout de notre 
tombe devers les pees soit dix peez 

Royal Wills," p. 66. It Is here given 
with greater accuracy, through careful 
collation of the tninscript in Archbishop 
Sudbur5''s Register at Laml)eth- The 
remarkable interest of the will as con- 
nected with the Prince's Interment and 
tomb at Canterbury, may fully justify its 
reproduction in this rolume. 

Wi/l of the Black Prince, 


loinz de Fautier, et qe mesme la 
tombe soit de marbre de bone ma- 
sonerie faite. Et volons qe entour 
la ditte tombe soient dusze escu- 
chons de latone, chacun de la lar- 
gesse d'un pie, dont les syx seront 
de noz armez entiers, et les autres 
six des plumz d'ostruce, et qe sur 
chacun escuchon soit escript, c'est 
assaveir sur cellez de noz armez et 
sur les autres des plumes d'ostruce, 
— Houmout.^ Et paramont' la 
tombe soit fait un tablement de 
latone suzorrez de largesse et lon- 
gure de meisme la tombe, sur quel 
nouz volons qe un ymage d'ove- 
reigne levez de latoun suzon-ez soit 
mys en memorial de nous, tout 
armez de fier de guerre de nous 
armez quartillez et le visage mie, 
ove notre heaume du leopard mys 
dessouz la teste del ymage, Et 
volons qe sur notre tombe en lieu 
ou len le purra plus clerement lire 
en veoir soit escript ce qe ensuit, 

en la manere qe sera mielz avis a 
noz executours : — 

Tu qe passez ove bouche close, par la ou 

cest corps repose 
Entent ce qe te dirray, sicome te dire 

la say, 
Tiel come tu es, Je au ciel * fu, Tu seras 

tiel come Je su, 
De la mort ne pensay je mie, Tant come 

j'avoy la vie. 
En terre avoy grand richesse, dont Je y 

fys grand noblesse, 
Terre, mesons, et grand tresor, draps, 

chivalx, argent et or. 
Mes ore su je povres et cheltifs, pcrfond 

en la terre gys, 
Ma grand beaute est tout alee, Ma char 

est tout gastee. 
Moult est estroite ma meson. En moy na 

si verite non, 
Et si ore me veissez, Je ne quide pas qe 

vous deeisez, 
Qe j'eusse onqes hom este, si su je ore de 

tout changee. 
Pur Dieu pries au celesticn* Roy, qe 

mercy eit de I'arme * de moy. 
Tout cil qe pur moi prieront, ou a Dieu 

Dieu les mctte en son parays,* (j:V) ou 

nul ne poet estre cheitifs.' 

' The escutcheons on the Prince's 
tomb are not in conformity with these 
directions. Over those charged with his 
arms appears the word hjtnioiit, on a 
little scroll, whilst over those bearing the 
three ostrich feathers is the motto — ich 
dUtu. There is probably an omission in 
the transcript of this passage in the Lam- 
beth Register. The reading in the ori- 
ginal document may have been — "sur 
ccller de noz armez — ich diene — est sur les 
autres des plumes d'ostruce — houmout." 
Representations of these escutcheons, as 
also of the altar tomb, showing their 
position, were given with the beautiful 
etchings of the figure of the Prince in 
Stothard's " Monumental Effigies." Re- 
f.resentations on a larger scale will be 
found in the notes suLjuined. — See plate 
lacing p. 174. 

• " Par-amont, en haut." — Roquefort. 

■ Thus in the MS. On the tomb the 
reading here is autiel, doubtless the word 
intended. "Auteil; pareil, de meme." 
— Roqti/'/ort. 

• The correct reading may be celes- 
tieu. Roquefort gives both celestiau and 

• Thus written, as likewise on the 
tomb. Roquefort gives " Arrne ; ame, 
esprit," etc. 

• Mr. Nichols printed this word — 
Paradys, as Wc-ever, Dart, Sandford, and 
others had given it. On the tomb the 
reading is — paray, which usually signifies 
in old French, parol, ntur, Lat. paries. 
Compare Roquefort, — " Paradis, pare- 
huis, parvis, place qui est dcvant une 
eglise, etc., en bas Lat. parvisius." 

' The inscription as it actually ap- 
pears on the tomb is not literally in ac- 
cordance with the transcript lierc given. 

1 66 

Wtl/ of tJie Black Prince, 

Et volons qe \. quele heure qe notre 
corps soit amenez par my la ville 
de Canterbirs tantqe ^ la priorie, 
qe deux destrex covertz de noz 
arrnez, et deux hommez armez en 
noz armez et en noz heaumcs voi- 
sent devant dit notre coi-ps, c'est 
assavoir, Tun pur la guerre de noz 
armez entiers quartellez, et I'autre 
pur la paLx de noz bages des plumes 
d'ostruce ove quatre baneres de 
mesme la sute, et qe chacum de 
ceux qe porteront Icz ditz baneres 
ait sur sa teste un cliapeu de noz 
armes. Et qe cell qe sera armez 
pur la guerre ait un horn me armez 
portant a pres 11 un penon de noir 
ove plumes d'ostruce. Et volons 
qe le herce soit fait entre le haut 
autier et le cuer, dedeyns le quel 
nous voloms qe notre corps soit 
posee, tantqe les vigiliez, messes et 
les divines services soient faites ; 
lesquelx services ensi faitez, soit 
notre corps portes en I'avant dite 
chappelle de notre dame ou il sera 
ensevillez. Item, nous donnons et 
devisoms al haut autier de la dite 
eglise notre vestement de velvet 
vert embroudez d'or, avec tout ce 
qe apperpticnt [^sic) au dit veste- 
menL Item, deux bacyns d'or, 
un chalix avec le patyn d'or, noz 
armez graves sur le pie, et deux 
cruetz d'or, et un ymage de la 
Trinite \ mettre sur le dit autier, 
ct notre grando croix d'argent su- 

biit the various readings are not of impor- 
tince. The inscription is given accurately 
by Mr. Kempe in the account of the 
tomb, Stothard's Monumental Effigies. 

' This word is printed by Mr. Nichols 
— irine. The white tissue was probably 
diapered with a trailing or branched pat- 

zorrez et enamellez, c'est assavoir 
la meliour croix qe nous avons 
d'argent ; toutes lesqueles chosez 
nouz donnons et devisons au dit 
autier ^ y servir perpetuelement, 
saiiu jammes le mettre en autre 
oeps pur nul mischiefs. Item, 
nous donnons et devisons al autiei 
de notre dame en la chappelle sur- 
dite notre blank vestiment tout 
entier diapree d'une vine' d'azure, 
et auxi le frontel qe I'evesqe d'Ex- 
cestre nous donna, q'est de I'as- 
sumpcion de notre dame en mylieu 
severee d'or et d'autre ymagerie, 
et un tabernacle de Tassumpcioun 
de notre dame, qe le dit evesqe 
nous donna auxi, et deux grand ez 
chandelabres d'argent qe sont tor- 
tillez, et deux bacyns de noz armez 
et un grand chalix suzorre et eiu- 
meillez des armez de Garrenne, 
ove deux cruetz taillez come deux 
angeles, pur servir \ mesme I'autier 
perpetuelement, sainz jamez le 
mettre en autre oeps pur nul 
meschief. Item, nous donnons et 
devisons notre sale' des plumes 
d'ostruce de tapicerie noir et la 
bordure rouge, ove cignes ove 
testez de dames, cest assavoir un 
dossier, et huyt pieces pur lez cos- 
ters, et deux banqueres, 4. la dit 
esglise de Canterbirs. Et volons 
qe le dossier soit taillez ensi come 
mielz sera avis \ noz executours 
pur servir devant et entour le haut 

tern in axure, in form of a vine. 

• A complete set of hangings for a 
chamljer was termed a Hall, salle, and 
by analogy a large tent or paviUon formed 
of several pieces was called a flail ; the 
hangings aui^a, were also called Hall" 

Will of the Black Prime, 


autier, et ce qe ne busoignera \ 
servir illec du remenant da dit 
dossier, et auxi les ditz banqueres, 
volons qe soit departiz ^ servir 
devant I'autier la ou monseignour 
saint Thomas gist, et a I'autier la 
ou la teste est, et a I'autier la ou 
la poynte de I'espie est, et entour 
notre corps en la dite chappelle de 
notre dame Undercrofte, si avant 
come il purra suffiere. Et voloms 
qe les costres de la dit Sale soient 
pur pendre en le quer tout du long 
paramont les estallez, et en ceste 
manere ordenons a servir et estre 
user en memorial de nous, a la 
feste de la Trinite, et a toutz lez 
principalez festes de I'an, et a lez 
festes et jour de Monseignour saint 
Thomas, et a toutez lez festes de 
notre dame, et les jours auxi de 
notre anniversaire perpetuelement, 
tant come ils purront durer sainz 
jamez estre mys en autre oeps. 
Item, nous donnons et devisons 
i notre chapelle de ceste notre dite 
dame Undercrofte, en la quele 
nous avoms fondes une chanterie 
de deux chapellayns a chanter pur 
nous perpetuelement, nostre missal 
et nostre portehors, lesquelx nous 

mesmes avons fait faire et enlim- 
yner de noz armures en diversez 
lieux, et auxi de nos bages dez 
plumes d'ostruce ; et ycelx missal 
et portehors ordenons a servir per- 
petuelement en la dite chappelle 
sainz James le mettre en autre oeps 
pur nul meschief; et de toutez 
cestes choses chargeons les armes 
des Priour et Couvent de la dite 
eglise, siccme ils vorront respon- 
dre devant Dieu. Item, nous 
donnons et divisons ^ la dite chap- 
pelle deux vestementz sengles, cest 
assavoir, aube, amyt, chesyble, es- 
tole et fanon, avec towaille coven- 
ables a chacum des ditz vestementz, 
a servir auxi en la dite chapelle 
perpetuelement. Item, nous don- 
nons et devisons notre grand table 
d'or et d'argent tout pleyn dez 
precieuses reliques, et en my lieu 
un croix de ligtio sancte cniciSy et la 
dite table est gamiz di perres et de 
perles, c'est assavoir, vingt cynq 
baleis, trent quatre safirs, cinquant 
oy t perles grosses, et plusours autres 
safirs, eraeraudes et perles petitz, a 
la haut autier de notre meson 
d'Assherugge q'est de notre funda- 
cioun,* k servir perpetuelement au 

* Mr. Nichols supposes this to be the 
Augustine College at Aihridge, Bucks, 
founded by Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, 
about 1283, but he was unable to trace 
any part taken by the Black Prince in the 
affairs of that house. In the last edition 
of Dugdalc's " Monasticon," voL vL p. 
515, it is stated that a copy of the statutes 
given to this house about a century after 
the foundation is preserved at Abhridge 
House. These, therefore, may have 
been given in the times of the Black 

A copy of the Ashridge Sututcs is 

now at Ashridge ; the originals being in 
the Episcopal Registry of Lincoln. They 
bear date April 20, 1376, just before the 
Prince's death. He is expressly called 
the founder ; and the reason given is, that 
he granted money for the maintenance of 
twenty brethren ; which was the number 
of the oriijinal foundation ; though owing 
to want of funds, seven priests only had 
been hitherto on the Hit. Archdeacon 
Todd (in a privately printed history of 
Berkhamstead) obser\es that there is a 
similar instance of the Prince claiming 
as his own fuundation what was rcallj 


IVi/I of the Black Prvice, 

dit autier, sanz jamez le mcttre en 
autre oeps pur nul meschicf ; cl de 
ce chargeons les armes du Rectour 
et du Couvent de la dite meson k 
respondre devant Dieu. Item, 
nous donnons et devisons le rem- 
enant de touz noz vestimentz, draps 
d'or, le tabernacle de la Resurrec- 
cioun, deux cixtes^ d'argent suzor- 
rez et enameillez d'une sute, croix, 
chalix, cruetz, chandelabres, ba- 
cyns, liveres, et touz noz autrez 
ornementz appetcnantz ^ seinte 
eglise, k notre chapelle de saint 
Nicholas dcdeynz notre chastel de 
Walyngforde,* a y servir et demu- 
rer perpetuelcment, sanz jamez le 
mettre en autre oeps ; et de ceo 
chargeons les armes des doien et 
souz doyen de la dite chapelle a 
respondre devant Dieu, horspris 
toutesfoiz le vestement blu z ec 
rosez d'or et plumes d'ostruce, 
liquel vestement tout entier avec 
tout ce qe appertient k ycelle nous 
donnons et devisons k notre filz 
Richard, ensemble avec le lit qe 
nous avons de mesme la sute et 
tout I'apparaille du dit lit, Icqucle 
notre tresredote seignour et pore 
le Roy nous donna. Item, nous 
donnons et devisons a notre dit filz 
notre lit palee de baudekyn et de 
camaca rouge q'cst tout novel, avec 
tout ce qe appertient au dit lit. 
Item, nous donons et devisons ^ 

founded by the Earl of Cornwall at Wal- 
liiigford, which the Prince cills " notre 
chapelle," though he only rc-establiihcd 

For this Information I am Indebted 
to the Rev. J. W. Cobb, formerly curate 
of Berkhaiiistead- 

' Ciites, ciitte, shri 

notre dit filz notre grand lit des 
angeles enbrouclez, avec les quis- 
syns, tapitz, coverture, linceaux et 
tout entierement I'autre apparalle 
appertienant au dit lit. Item, nous 
donnons et devisons ^ notre dit filz 
la Sale d'arras du pas de Saladyn, 
et auxi la Sale de Worstede em- 
broudcz avec mermyns de mier, et 
la bordure de rouge de noir pales 
et embroudes de cignes ove testcz 
de dames et de plumes d'ostruce» 
lesqueles Sales nous volons qe 
notre dit filz ait avec tout ce qc 
appartient \ ycelle. Et quant a 
notre vesselle d'argent, porce qe 
nous pensons qe nous receumcs 
avec notre compaigne la princesse 
au temps de notre mariage, jusqcs 
a la value de sept centz marcs d'es- 
terlinges de la vesselle de notre dit 
compaigne, Nous volons qe elle ait 
du notre tantqe k la dite value ; 
et du remenant de notre dit ves- 
selle nous volons qe notre dit filz 
ait une partie covenable pur son 
estat, solonc I'avis de noz execu- 
tours. Item, nous donnons et 
devisons \ notre dit compaigne 
la princesse la Sale de Worstede 
rouge d'egles et grifTons embrou- 
dez, avec la bordure de cignes ove 
testes de dames. Item, nous de- 
visoms ^ Sire Roger de Claryn- 
done' un lit de sole solonc I'avis 
de noz executours, avec tout ce qe 

' Of this collegiate chapel, see the 
last edition of Dugdale's " Monast," vol. 
vi. p. 1330. In 1356, the Prince had 
granted to it tlie advowson of the church 
of Harcwcll, Berkshire. 

* Sir Hoger was a natural son of the 
Prince, bom probably at Clarendon, and 
thence turned. See Sandford, GeneaL 

Will of the Black Prince. 


appertient au dit Kt Item, nous 
donnons et devisons a Sire Robert 
de Walsham notre confessour un 
grand lit de rouge camoca avec 
noz armes embroudes 4 checum 
comere, et le dit Camaka est dia- 
preez en 11 mesmes des armes de 
Hereford, avec le celure entiere, 
curtyns, quissyns, traversin, tapitz 
de tapiterie, et tout entierment 
I'autre apparaille. Item, nous 
donnons et devisons a mons'r 
Alayn Cheyne notre lit de camoca 
blank poudres d'egles d'azure, c'est 
assavoir, quilte, dossier, celure en- 
tiere, curtyns, quissyns, traversyn, 
tapiz, et tout entierement I'autre 
apparaille. Et tout le remenant 
de noz biens et chateaux auxi bien 
vessel d'or et joialx come touz 
autere biens ou q'ils soient, outre 
ceux qe nous avons dessuz donnes 
et devisez come dit est, auxi toutez 
maneres des dettes a nous duex, en 
queconqe manere qe ce soit, en- 
semble avec touz les issuez et pro- 
fitz qe purront sourdre et avenir de 
touz nos terrez et seignouries, par 
trois ans a pres ce qe dieux aura 
faite sa volonte de nous, lesquelx 
profitz notre dit seignour et pere 
no\is a ottroiez pur paier noz det- 
tetz. Nous ordenons et devisoms 
si bien pur les despenz funerales 
qe convenront necessairement estre 
faites pur nostre estat, come pur 
acquiter toutez noz dettez par les 
mains de noz executours, sique ils 
paient primerement les dis des- 

pencz funerales, et apres acquiptent 
principalement toutez les debtes 
par nous loialement dehues. Et 
cestes choses et perfourmez come 
dit est si rien remeint de noz ditz 
biens et chateaux, nous volons qe 
adonqes noz ditz executours solonc 
la quantite enguerdonnent noz po- 
vres servantz egalement selonc leur 
degreez et desertes si avant come 
ils purront avoir informacione de 
ceux qe en ont melliour cognis- 
sance, si come ils en vorront re- 
spondre devant Dieu au jour de 
Juggement, ou nul ne sera jugge 
qe un seul. Et quant a les annu- 
ytes qe nous avons donnes a noz 
chivalers, esquiers, et autres noz 
servitours, en gueredon des ser- 
vices q'ils nous ont fait et des 
travalx q'ils ont eeu entour nous, 
notre entiere et darriene volunte 
est qe les dictes annuytees estoisent, 
et qe touz ceux asquelx nous les 
avons donnes en soient bien et 
loialement ser\-iz et paiez, solonc 
le purport de notre doun et de noz 
letres quels en ont de nous. Et 
chargeoms notre filz Richard sur 
notre beneson de tenir et confer- 
mer a checum quantqe nous lour 
avons ensi donnez, et si avant come 
Dieu nous a donnez poair sur notre 
dit filz nouzli donnons notre malison 
s'il empesche ou soefire estre em- 
pesches en quantqe en il est notre 
dit doun. Et de cest notre testa- 
ment, liqucl nous volons estre tenuz 
et perfourmez pur notre darreine 

HisL p. 189. He was made one of the 
knights of the chamber to his half-brother, 
Richard II., who granted to him an an- 
nuity of xoo/. per ann.. In 1389. He 

bore Or, on a bend, Sa, three ostrich 
feathers Arg., the quills transfixed 
through as many scrolls of the first. 


IVi/l of the Black Prince^ 

volunte, fesons et ordcnons noz 
executors notre trescher et tresame 
frcre d'Espaigne, Due de Lan- 
castre, les reverenz peres en Dieu, 
William Evesqe de Wyncestre,* 
Johan Evesqe de Bathe,' William 
Evesqe de Saint Assaphe,' notre 
trescher en Dieu sire Robert de 
Walsham notre confessour, Hughe 
de Segrave Sencscal de noz ter- 
res, Alejm de Stokes, et Johan 
de Fordham ; lesquelx nous pri- 
oms, requerons et chargeoms de 
executer et acomplir loialincnt 
toutez les choses susditcs. En 
tesmcignance de toutez et che- 
cunes les cho:es susdites nous 
avons fait mettre a cest notre testa- 
ment et darreine volunte nous prive 
et secree sealx,* et avons auxi com- 
mandez notre notair dessous escript 
de mettre notre dite darriere vo- 
lunte et testament en fourme pub- 
lique, et de soy souz escriere et le 
signer et mercher de son signe 
acustumez, en tesmoignance de 
toutez et checunes les choses des- 

Et ego, Johannes de Ormeshe- 
vede, clericus Karliolensis dioccsis 

publicus autoritate apostolica Nota- 
rius, premissis omnibus et sinr^j'.is 
dura sic ut prcmiltitur sub r.rino 
Domini Millesimo, ccc. sepiua- 
gesimo serto, Indictione quarta- 
decima, pontificatus sanctissimi in 
Christo patris et domini nostri 
domini Gregorii, divina provident ia 
pape, undecimi, anno sexto, mense, 
die et loco prcdictis, preJictum 
metuendissimum dominum meura 
principcm agerentur ct ficrcnt, 
presentibus reverendo in Christo 
patre domino Johanne Herefor- 
densi Episcopo, dominis Lodewico 
de Cliflbrd, Nicholao Bonde, ct 
Nicholao de Schamesfelde, militi- 
bu8, et domino Willelmo de Wal- 
sham clerico, ac aliis pluribus 
militibus, clericis et sculiferis, 
unacum ipsis presens fui eaque sic 
fieri vidi et audivi, et de mandato 
dicti domini mei principis scripsi, 
et in hanc publicam formam redegi, 
signoque meis ct nomine consuetis 
signavi rogatus in fidem et testi- 
monium omnium premissorum, 
constat michi notario predicto de 
interlinear' harum dictionum — tout 
est, per me fact, superiui appro- 

» William of Wylcchain, Bishop of 
Winchester, 1367- 1404. 

• John Harewcll, Chancellor of Gas- 
cony and Chaplain to the Prince, was 
Ijishop of Dalh, 1366-13S6. 

• William de Springlington, appointed 
Bishop of St. Asaph, Feb. 4, 1376, in the 
same year as the Prince's will is dated. 

• This expression deserves notice, as 
showing the distinction between the 
Sigillum privatum and the secretuin. 
The seals of the Black Prince are numer- 
ous ; eight arc described by Sir H. 
Nicolas in bis Memoir. Arcbseologia, 

vol. xxx'L p. 3^1, but none of them are 
identified with the seals above mentioned. 
The secree seal was doubtless the same 
kind of seal described in other inst.inccs 
as the Privy SigueL The will of Edward 
III. was sealed " si^:;IIlo private et signeto 
nostris," %vith the Great Seal in confirma- 
tion. Richard II. on his deposition took 
from his finger a ring of gold of his own 
Privy Signet, and put it on the Duke of 
Lancaster's finder. The will of Henry 
V. was scaled with the Great and Privy 
Seals and the Privy Signet. 

Notes on the Will, 


Probafio dicti Testamenti coram 
Simone Cantuar' Archiepiscopo, 
iv. Idus Junii, M.ccc.lxxyj. in 
camera infra scepta domus fratrum 
predicatorum conventus London'. 
Nostre Translationis anno secundo. 

A marginal note records that 
John, Bishop of Durham, and 

Alan Stolces, executors of the will, 
had rendered their account of the 
goods, and have a full acquittance, 
as also another acquittance from 
the Prior and Chapter of Christ 
Church, Canterbury, for the lega- 
cies bequeathed to that church, as 
appears in the Register of William 
(Courtenay) Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, under the year 1386. 


In perusing the foregoing docu- 
ment, so characteristic of the habi- 
tual feelings and usages of the 
times, and of deep interest in con- 
nection with the history of the 
Prince, we cannot fail to remark 
with surprise the deviation from 
his last wishes, in regard to the 
position of his tomb. The instruc- 
tions here minutely detailed were 
probably written, from his own 
dictation, the day previous to his 
decease : ' and it were only reason- 
able to conclude, that injunctions, 
so solemnly delivered, would have 
been fulfilled with scrupulous pre- 
cision by the executors even in 
the most minute particulars. We 
are unable to suggest any probable 
explanation of the deviations which 
appear to have taken place ; nei- 
ther the chronicles of the period, 

* The day given In the printed text of 
Walsingham, Hist. Angl., p. 190, as tlict 
of the Prince'* death, namely July 8, is 
obvio\is!y incorrect. It is singular that 
Mr. Nichols should have followed this 

nor the records of the Church of 
Canterbury, throw light upon the 

According to the instructions 
given by the Prince, the corpse on 
reaching the church was for a time 
to be deposited on a hearse, or 
temporary stage of framework, to 
be constructed between the high 
altar and the choir, namely, in 
that part of the fabric designated 
by Professor Willis as the Presby- 
tery, parallel with the eastern 
transepts. There it was to re- 
main, surrounded "doubtless by the 
torches and all the customary 
funeral pageantry of the hearse, 
until the vigils, masses, and divine 
ser\-ices were completed. The 
remains of the Prince were then to 
be conveyed to the Chapel of our 
Lady Under Croft and there in- 
Inadvertent error. Royal Wills, p. 77. 
Trinity Sunday in the year 1376 fell on 
June 8, and that is the day stated in the 
inscription on the tomb to have been that 
on which the Prince died. 


Notes on tJie WilL 

terred ; it is further enjoined that 
the foot of the tomb should be ten 
feet from the altar. If, therefore, 
it may be assumed, as appears 
highly probable, that the position 
of that chapel and altar at the 
period in question was identical 
with that of the Lady Chapel, of 
which we now see the remains in 
the centre of the crypt, it would 
appear that the site selected by 
Edward as his last resting-place 
was situate almost precisely below 
the high-altar in the choir above. 
It is obvious that the screen-work 
and decorations of the Chapel, 
now existing in a very dilapidated 
condition, are of a period subse- 
quent to that of the Prince's death, 
and some have attributed the work 
to Archbishop Morton, towards 
the close of the fifteenth century. 
This, it will be remembered, is the 
Chapel of Our Lady, the surprising 
wealth of which is described by 
Erasmus, who, by favour of an in- 
troduction from Archbishop War- 
ham, was admitted within the iron 
screens by which the treasure was 
strongly guarded.* 

Here, then, in the obscurity of 
the crypt, and not far distant from 
tlie chantries which the Prince at 

the time of his marriage had 
founded in the Under Croft of the 
south transept, was the spot where 
Edward enjoined his executors to 
construct his tomb. It were vain 
to conjecture, in default of any 
evidence on the subject, to what 
cause the deviation from his dying 
wishes was owing; what difiiculties 
may have been found in the endea- 
vour to carry out the interment in 
the crj'pt, or what arguments may 
have been used by the prior and 
convent to induce the executors to 
place the tomb in the more con- 
spicuous and sightly position above, 
near the shrine of Saint Thomas, 
in the Chapel of the Trinity, where 
it is actually to be seen.* 

The instructions given by the 
Prince for the solemn pageant pre- 
sent a striking and characteristic 
picture of his obsequies, as the 
procession passed through the West 
Gate and along the High Street 
towards the Cathedral. lie en- 
joined that two chargers [dex- 
trarii), with trappings of his arms 
and badges, and two men accoutred 
in his panoply and wearing his 
helms, should precede the corpse. 
One ** cheval de duU** is often 
mentioned in the splendid funerals 

* Pilgrimage to St Thomas of Can- 
terbury, translated by John G. Nichols, 
p. 56. An interior view of this chapel is 
given by Dart, plate 9, showing also the 
large slab in the pavement, once en- 
crusted with an effigy of brass, some- 
times supposed to cover the burial-place 
of Archbishop Morton, 

• The supposition that the tomb of the 
Prince might have been originally placed 
In the crypt, and removed subsequently 
into the Chapel of the Trinity, may ap- 

pear very Improbable. Yet U may be 
observed, that the iron railings around 
the monuments of Edward and of Henry 
IV. are apparently of the same age, and 
wrought by the same workman, as shown 
by certain ornamental details. Tliii 
might seem to sanction a conjecture t!;at 
the two tombs had been placed there 
simultaneously, that of the Prince having 
possibly been moved thither from the 
Under Croft when the mea4orial of Henry 
was erected. 





From a metal preserved in the I'ritish Museum. 
(Of the same dimensions as the original.) 

{To Jacc p. i7j. 

Notes on the WilL 


of former times. In this instance 
there were two ; one of them bear- 
ing the equipment of war, with the 
quarterly bearings of France and 
England, as seen upon the effigy 
of Edward and upon the em- 
broidered surcoat still suspended 
over it The array of the second 
was directed to be "/«r la paix, 
denoz bages des plumes dostruce;" 
namely, that which the Prince had 
used in the lists and in the chival- 
rous exercises of arms distinguished 
from actual warfare, and termed 
hastUudia pacifica^ or **justes of 
peas. " * Four sable banners of the 
same suit, with the ostrich plumes, 
accompanied this noble pageant, 
and behind the war-horse followed 
a man armed, bearing a penon, like- 
wise charged with ostrich plumes. 
This was the smaller flag, or 
streamer, attached to the warrior's 
lance, and it may here, probably, 
be regarded as representing that 
actually canied in the field by the 

There can be little doubt that 
on the beam above the Prince's 
tomb at Canterbury there were ori- 
ginally placed two distinct atchieve- 
ments, composed of the actual 
accoutrements, ** pur la guerre'*^ 
and "/«r la paix" which had 
figured in these remarkable funeral 
impersonations. It was the custom, 

• See the curious documents and me- 
moir relating to the peaceable Justs or 
Tiltings of the Middle Ages, by Mr. 
Douce, Archaeologia, vol. xvii. p. 290. 

" A remarkable illustration of these 
Instructions in Edward's Will is supj^Iicd 
by an illumination in the Metrical History 
of the Deposition of Richard II., where 

it may be observed, when the 
courser and armour of the deceased 
formed part of a funeral procession, 
that the former was regarded as a 
mortuary due to the church in 
which the obsequies were per- 
formed, but the armour was usually 
hung up near the tomb. There 
may still be noticed two iron stand- 
ards on the beam above mentioned, 
now bearing the few remaining 
reliques of these atchievements. 
One of these standards probably 
supported the embroidered armo- 
rial surcoat, or "coat of worship," 
by which Edward had been distin- 
guished in the battle-field, charged 
with the bearings of France and 
England, his helm, his shield of 
war, likewise displaying the same 
heraldic ensigns, and the other ap- 
pliances of actual warfare. The 
second trophy was doubtless com- 
posed of his accoutrements for the 
joust, characterised not by the pro- 
per charges of heraldry, but by his 
favourite badge of the ostrich fea- 
ther, the orgin of which still per- 
plexes the antiquary. Conforma- 
bly, moreover, to such arrangement 
of the twofold atchievements over 
the tomb, the escutcheons affixed 
to its sides are alternately of war 
and peace ; namely, charged with 
the quarterly bearing, and with the 
feathers on a sable field. 

that king appears with a black surcoyt 
powdered with ostrich plumes, his horse 
in trappings of the same, and a penoa 
of the like badge carried behind him, 
Richard is represented in the act of con> 
fcrring knighthood on Henry of Moiv 
mouth. Axchxologia, voL xx. p. 331 
Plate II. 



Notes on the Will 

In regard to these richly en- 
amelled escutcheons the Prince's 
instructions were given with much 
precision. They were to be twelve 
in number, each a foot wide, 
formed of latten or hard brass ; 
six being "oV rtos armez entiers^^* 
and the remainder of ostrich fea- 
thers ; ^^ et qe sur chacun cscuchon 
soit escrift, c'est assavier sur eel- 
In de nos armez et sur les autres 
des plumes d^ostj-uee^ — IToumout. 
Here, again, the tomb presents a 
perplexing discrepancy from the 
letter of the will, which Sir Harris 
Nicolas, Mr. Planch^, and other 
writers have noticed. The escut- 
cheons of arms are actually sur- 
mounted by labels inscribed '■*' hou- 
vicuty^ whilst those with ostrich 
feathers have the motto, *'rV/4 
dieney* not mentioned in the 
Prince's injunctions. It must, 
however, be considered that the 
text of his will has not been ob- 
tained from the original instrument 
(no longer, probably, in existence), 
but from a transcript in Arch- 
bishop Sudbury's Register, and 
the supposition seems probable 
that the copier may have inadver- 
tently omitted the words, "/M 
diene" after ** ftoz armez" and the 
sentence as it now stands appears 
incomplete. Still, even if this con- 
jecture be admitted, the mottos 
over the alternate escutcheons are 
transposed, as compared with the 
Prince's directions. 

' See also Mr. Planchi's " History of 
British Co tuine,'' p. 178. 

" Archxologia, vol. xxxi. pp. 358, 381. 
The document in tlie Tower which 
bc;irs this signature is dated April 25, 
1370, being a warrant granted to John de 
Usquet for fifty marks per annum out 

The origin and import of these 
mottos have been largely discussed ; 
it may suffice to refer to the argu- 
ments advanced by the late Sir 
Harris Nicolas and by Mr. Planche, 
Archreologia, vol. xxxi. pp. 357, 
372, and vol. xxxii. p. 69.' The 
most remarkable fact connected 
with this subject is that the Prince 
actually used these mottos as a sijn 
manual ; thus : " De par homout 
Ich dene" the mottos being written 
one over the other, and enclosed 
within a line traced around them. 
This interesting signature was tlrst 
noticed in a communication to the 
Spalding Society, some years since, 
and a facsimile engraved in Mr. 
Nichols' ** Bibliotheca Topogra- 
phica." Another document thus 
signed, and preserved in the Tower, 
was communicated by Mr. Hardy, 
to the late Sir Harris Nicolas. It 
has been published in his "Me- 
moir on the Radges and Mottos of 
the Piinccof Wales," before cited.' 
I am indebted to the obliging 
courtesy of the Vicount Mahon, 
President of the Society of Anti- 
quaries, whose kindness enables 
me to place before the reader of 
these notes a faithful representation 
of the Prince's signature, as also 
the accompanying illustrations of 
the subject under consideration, 
being woodcuts prepared for the 
Memoirs, by Sir Harris Nicolas, in 
the Archoeologia. 

A brief notice of the interesting 

of the exchequer of Chester. The docu- 
ment given in Libl. Topog., vol. iii. p. 
90, seeras not to h.ive been noticed by Sir 
Harris Nicolas. It is described a* agtant 
of twenty nuirks per ann., to John do 
Esiiuct, dated 34 Edw. III. (i3^>-6i). 

Notes on the WilL 


reliques which still remain over the 
tomb may here be acceptable,^ 
The chief of these is the gamboised 
jnpon of one pile crimson velvet, 
w ith short sleeves, somewhat like 
the tabard of the herald, but laced 
up the back ; the foundation of the 
garment being of buckram, stuffed 
with cotton, and quilted in longi- 
tudinal ribs. The sleeves, as well 
as both front and back, of this coat 
display the quarterly bearing, the 
flcmrs-delys {semees) and lions 

intended for use j it has, besides 
the narrow ocularia^ or transverse 
apertures for sight, a number of 
small holes pierced on the right 
side in front, probably to give air ; 
they are arranged in form of a 
crown. Upon the red chapeau, or 
cap of estate, lined with velvet, 
with the ermined fore-part turned 
up, was placed the gilded lion 
which formed the crest. This is 
hollow, and constructed of some 
light substance, stated to be paste- 




being embroidered in gold. Re- 
cently it has been lined with leather 
for its better preservation. The 
sliield is of wood, covered with 
moulded leather, or cuir bouilli^ 
wrought wilh singular skill, so that 
the JJeurs-de-Iys and lions of the 
quarterly bearing which it displays 
preserve the sharpness of finish and 
bold reliefin remarkable perfection. 
The iron conical-topped helm is 
similar in form to that placed under 
the head of the effigy ; its original 
lining of leather may be seen, a 
proof of its having been actually 

» I regret much that I was unable to 
examine these highly interesting rcliiiucs. 
'ITje following particulars arc from the 
notei by Mr. Kempe in the lectcrprcss 
of Stothard'» Effigies, where admirable 
rer>resentations of these objects are given ; 
aihort accountby Mr. J.Gough Nichols, 
in Gent. Mag., xxii. p. 384, and Mr. 

board, co?ted wilh a plastic com- 
position, on which the shaggy locks 
of the lion's skin were formed by 
means of a mould. The chapeau 
and crest were, it is said, detached 
from the helm some years s'nce, 
on the occasion of a visit by the 
Duchess of Kent to Canterbury. 
The gauntlets are of brass, differ- 
ing only from those of the effigy in 
having been ornamented with siiall 
lions riveted upon the knuckles ; 
the leather which appears on the 
inside is worked up the sides of the 
fingers with silk.' The fact that 

Hartshorne's Memoir on Medizeval Em- 
broidery, Archaeological Journal, vol. iii. 
pp. 326, 327. 

» It is to be regretted that the curious 
lioncels on the Prince's gauntlets should 
have been detached by "Collectors." 
One was shown mr at Canterbury, now 
in private bands, which I much desire 


Notes on the Will. 

these gauntlets are of brass may 
deserve notice, as suggesting the 
probability that the entire suit 
which served as a model for the 
effigy of the Prince vi^as of that 
metal. The scabbard of red leather, 
with gilt studs, and a fragment of 
the belt of thick cloth, with a single 
buckle, alone remain ; it has been 
stated, on what authority I have 
not been able to ascertain, that the 
sword was carried away by Crom- 
well. » 

A representation has happily 
been preserved of another relique, 
originally part of the funeral a- 
chievcments of the Black Prince, 
and which may have formed a 
portion of the accoutrements ^^ pur 
la paix^^ Edmund Bolton, in his 

*' Elements of Armories," printed 
in 1610, remarks that the ancient 
fashion of shields was triangular, 
namely, that of the shield still to 
be seen over the Prince's tomb, 
but that it was not the only form, 
and he gives two examples, one 
being the "honorary" shield be- 
longing to the most renowned Ed- 
ward, Prince of Wales, whose tomb 
is in the Cathedral Church in Can- 
terbury. "There (beside his quilted 
coat-armour with halfe-sleeves, 
taberd-fashion, and his triangular 
shield,bothof them painted with the 
royall armories of our king>, and 
differenced with silver labels) hangs 
this kinde of Pavis or Targat,' 
curiously (for those times) embost 
and painted, the scucheon in the 

were deposited in the Library, in Dr. 
Rargrave's cabinet of coins and antiqui- 
ties, or in some other place of safe cus- 
tody. Another was in the posse<;sion of 
a Kentish collector, whose stores M'cre 
dispersed by public auction a few years 

• On this subject, It may be worth 
while to insert a letter received from the 
Rev. A. D. Wray, Canon of Manchester, 
in the liope of eliciting further informa- 
tion on the fate of the sword. — A. P. S. 

" The sword, or supposed sword, of 
the Black Prince, which Oliver Cromwell 
b said to have carried away. I have seen 
and many times have had in my hands. 
There lived in Manchester, when I first 
came here, 1809, a Mr. Thomas Baniu, a 
saddler by trade ; he was a great anti- 
quarian, and had collected together hel- 
mets, coats of mail, horns, etc, .ind many 
coins. But what he valued most of all 
was a sword: the blade about two feet 
long, and on the blade was let in, in 
letters of gold 'Edwardus Wallik 
pRiNCKrs.' I see from a drawing which 
I posse.'^s of himself and his curiosities, he 
was in pos<;ession of this sword a.d. 1794. 
Uc told mc he purchased many of the 

ancient relics of a pedlar, who travelled 
through the country selling earthenware, 
and I think he said he got this sword from 
this pedlar. When Barritt died, in Octo- 
ber, 1820, aged 76, his curiosities were 
sold by his widow at a rafHc, but I be- 
lieve this sword was not among the arti- 
cles so disposed of. It had probably 
been disposed of beforehand ; but to 
whom I never knew; yet I think it not 
unlikely that it is still in the neighbour- 
hood. Mrs. Barritt is long since dead, 
and her only child, a daug^iter, leaN-ing 
no representative. The sword was a little 
curved, scimitar-like, rather thick, broad 
blade, and had every appearance of being 
the Llack Prince's sword. Mr. Barritt 
had made a splendid scabbard to hold it. " 
• A woodcut is introduced here in the 
description. "Elements of Armories," 
p. 67. It has been copied in Brayley's 
"Graphic Illustrator," p. laS. It is re- 
markable that Bolton should assert that 
the arms both on the quilted coat and 
triangular shield were differenced by a 
label of silver : none is now to be seen ; 
the silver may possibly have become 
eflfaced. The label appears on the shield 
figured by Bolton, as also on the effigy. 

Notes on the Will 


bosse beeing wome out, and the 
Armes (which it seems were the 
same with his coate-armour, and 
not any peculiar devise) defaced, 
and is altogether of the same kinde 
with that, upon which Froissard 
reports) the dead body of the Lord 
Robert of Duras, and nephew to 
the Cardinall of Pierregourt, was 
laid, and sent unto that Cardinall 
from the battell of Poictiers, where 
the Black Prince obtained a vic- 
torie, the renowne whereof is im- 

The form of this Pavis is ovoid, 
that is, an oval narrowing towards 
the bottom : in the middle is a 
circle, apparently designated by 
Bolton as *' the bosse," the diame- 
ter of which is considerably more 
than half the width of the shield 
at that part ; this circle encloses 
an escutcheon of the arms of 
France and England quarterly, 
with a label of three points. All 
the rest of the shield around this 
circle is diapered with a tailing or 
foliated ornament.' Unfortunately, 
Bolton has not recorded the dimen- 
sions of this shield, but it may 
probably be concluded, from his 
comparing it with the " targe^'' 
mentioned by Froissart, upon 
which the corpse of Duras was 
conveyed, that it was of larger 
proportion than the ordinary tri- 
angular war-shield. 

The Holy Trinity, it has been 
remarked, was regarded with espe- 
cial veneration by the Black Prince. 

» A joustlng-shlcld in the Goodrich 
Court Armoury is decorated with ;;ilt foli- 
age in very sitni'ar style. See Skclton's 
liJustration*, vol. i. pi. xii. 

* Archxologia, vol xxxi. p. 141. This 

In the Ordinance of the chantries 
founded at Canterbury, printed in 
this volume, p. 159, the Prince 
states his purpose to be — ** ad 
honorem Sancte Trinitaiis quam 
peculiar i devocione semper colimus.''* 
On the wooden tester beneath 
which his effigy is placed, a very 
curious painting in distemper may 
still be discerned, representing the 
Holy Trinity ; according to the 
usual conventional symbolism, the 
Supreme Being is here portrayed 
seated on the rainbow and holding 
a crucifix, the foot of which is 
fixed on a terraqueous globe. The 
four angles contain the Evangelistic 
symbols. An interesting illustra- 
tion of the Prince's peculiar ven- 
eration for the Holy Trinity is 
supplied by the curious metal 
badge, preserved in the British 
Museum, and of which Sir Harris 
Nicolas has given a representation 
in his " Observations on the Insti- 
tution of the Order of the Garter." ' 
On this relique the Prince appears 
kneeling before a figure of the Al- 
mighty, holding a crucifix, almost 
identical in design with the painting 
above mentioned. His gauntlets 
lie on the ground before him, he 
is bare-headed, the crested helm 
being held by an angel standing 
behind, and above is seen another 
angel issuing from the clouds, and 
holding his shield, charged with 
the arms of France and England, 
differenced by a label. The whole 
is surrounded by a Garter, inscribed 

object is a c.nsting in pewter or mixed 
white metal, from a mould probably 
intended for making badges, wliich may 
have been worn by the Prince's attend- 
ants affixed to the dress. 

1/8 His Connection with Queens College, &c. 

ijang eogt Jie mal g pmsc. It is 
remarkable that on this plate, as 
also in the painting on the tester 
of the tomb, the dove, usually in- 
troduced to symbolise the third 
person of the Holy Trinity, does 
not appear. 

There are other matters com- 
prised in this remarkable Will to 

which time does not allow me to 
advert. It appeared very desirable 
to give, with greater accuracy than 
had hitherto been done, the text of 
a document so essential to ihe illus- 
tration of the History of Edward 
as connected with the Cathedral 
Church of Canterbury.^ 

A. W. 



The tradition of the Black 
Prince's connection with Queen's 
College, and withWyclifTe, as stated 
in the text, must, I fmd, be taken 
with considerable reservation. 

With regard to the Black Prince, 
the Bursars' rolls, which are extant 
a:, far back as I347» exhibit, I am 
informed, no traces of his stay, and 
the early poverty of the college is 
thought to be a strong presumption 
against it. 

With regard to Wyc'ifie, the 
Bursars' rolls exhibit various ex- 
penses incurred for a chamber let to 
Wycliffe (" Magister Joh. Wyclif " ) 
in 13^3 — 1375.' This probably is 
the foundation of the story that he 
was there as a student ; and if so, 
the supposition that he may have 
been there in 134.6, at the same 
time with th j Black Prince, falls to 
the ground. 


It appears from a letter in Ry- 
mer's *' Foedera," that the Prince 
was expected to land at Plymouth ; 
it is stated by Knyghton that he 
actually did so. The question, 
therefore, arises, whether Frois- 

• It is with pleasure that I here ac- 
knowledge ihc courtesy of the Rev. J. 
Thomas, Librarian to the Archhishop, 
io giving faciUlics for the coUatiou of the 

sart's detailed account cf his arrival 
at Sandwich, and of his subsequent 
journey to Cantcrbar}', as given in 
the Note, can be reconciled with 
those intimations, or, if not, which 
authority must give way ? 

transcript of the Prince's Will preserved 
amongst the Records at Lambeth Palace. 
• See notes to the last edition of Fox'g 
" Acts aad Martyrs," p. 940. 

The Shrine 


St. Tho7iias of Ccinterhtry. 

The authorities for the subject of the following Essay are — besides 
the chroniclers and historians of the time, and the ordinary text-books of 
Canterbury antiquities, Somner, Batteley, Hasted, and Willis.* — (I.) 
Erasmus's Pilgrimage to Canterbury and Walsingham, as edited with 
great care and copious illustrations by Mr. Nichols; (II.) Chaucer's 
"Canterbury Tales," as edited by Tyrwhitt, and the Supplementary Tale, 
as edited by Mr. Wright, in the twenty-sixth volume of the Percy Society. 
To these I have added, in an Appendix, extracts from sources less gene- 
rally accessible, (i.) A MS. history of Canterbury Cathedral, in Norman 
French, entitled "Polistoire," now in the British Museum, of the time 
of Edward II. (2.) The Narrative of the Bohemian Embassy, in the 
reign of Edward IV. (3.) The MS. Defence of Henry VIII., by WU- 
liam Tliomas, of the time of Edward VI., in the British Museum. (4.) 
Some few notices of the Shrine in the Archives of Canterbury Cathedral ; 
which last are subjoined to this Essay, as collected and annotated by Mr. 
Albert Way, who has also added notes on the Pilgrim's Road, and on 
the Pilgrimage of John of France. I have also appended in this edition 
a note, by Mr. George Austin, of Canterbury, on the crescent above the 
Shrine, aiid on the representation of the story of Becket's miracles in the 
stained glass of the Catliedrah 

The Shrine of Becket. 

A MONGST the many treasures of art and of devotion, 
•^^^ which once adorned or which still adorn the metropo- 
litical Cathedral, the one point to which, for more than three 
centuries, the attention of every stranger who entered its 
gates was directed, was the shrine of St. Thomas of Canter- 
bury. And although that Shrine, with the special feelings 
of reverence of which it was once the centre, has long passed 
away, yet there is still sufficient interest around its ancient 
site — there is still sufficient instruction in its eventful history 
— to require a full narrative of its rise, its progress, and its 
fall, in any historical records of the great Cathedral of which 
in the eyes of England it successively formed the support, 
the glory, and the disgrace. Such a narrative, worthily told, 
would be far more than a mere investigation of local anti- 
quities. It would be a page in one of the most curious 
chapters of the history of the human mind; it would give us 
a clear insight into the interior working of the ancient 
monastic and ecclesiastical system, in one of the aspects in 
which it least resembles anything which we now see around 
us, either for good or for evil ; it would enable us to be pre- 
sent at some of the most gorgeous spectacles and to meet 
some of the most remarkable characters of medioeval times ; 

G 2 

lS2 Insignificance of the Cathedral 

it would help us to appreciate more comprehensively some 
of the main causes and effects of the Reformation. 

In order to understand this singular story, we must first 
go back to the state of Canterbury and its Cathedral in the 
times preceding not only the Shrine itself, but the event of 
which it was the memorial Canterbury, from the time oi 
Augustine, had been the chief city of the English Church. 
But it had not acquired an European celebrity, and the 
comparative splendour, which it had enjoyed during the 
reign of Ethelbert as capital of a large part of Britain, had 
entirely passed away before the greater claims of Winchester 
and of London. And even in the city of Canterbury, the 
Cathedral was not the chief ecclesiastical edifice. There 
was, we must remember, close outside the walls, the great 
Abbey and Church of St. Augustine ; and we can hardly 
doubt that here, as in many foreign cities, the church of the 
patron saint was regarded as a more sacred and important 
edifice than the church attached to the episcopal sec. St 
Zeno at Verona, and St. Apollinaris at Ravenna, outshine 
the cathedrals of both those ancient cities. The Basilica of 
St. Mark at Venice, though only the private chapel of the 
Ducal Palace, has, ever since its claim to possess the relics 
of the Evangelist of Alexandria, thro^^-n into the most dis- 
tant shade the seat of the Patriarchate, in the obscure church 
of St. Peter in the little island beyond the Arsenal. The 
Basilica of St. John Latcran, though literally the metropo- 
litan Cathedral of the metropolitan city of Christendom, 
though containing the see and chair of the Roman Pontiffs, 
though the mother and head of all the churches, with the 
princes of Europe for the members of its Chapter, has been 
long superseded in grandeur and in sanctity by the august 
dome which in a remote corner of the city rises over the 
grave of the Apostle St. Peter. In two celebrated instances 
the cathedral has, as in the case of Canterbur}% from acci 
dental causes, overtaken the church of the original saint 
Milan Cathedral has, from Galeazzo Visconti's efforts to 

before the Murder of Bcckct 183 

expiate his enormous crimes, and from the popular devotion 
to St. Carlo Borromeo, more than succeeded in eclipsing 
the ancient church of St. Ambrose. Rheims — the Canter- 
bur}^ of France — furnishes a still more exact parallel. The 
Abbey Church of St. Remy and the Cathedral at the two 
extremities of the city, are the precise counterparts of 
Christ Church and of St. Augustine's Abbey in the first 
Christian city of England. The present magnificence of 
Rheims Cathedral, as its architecture at once reveals, dates 
from a later period than the simple but impressive edifice 
which encloses the shrine of the patron saint, and shows 
that there was a time when the distinction conferred on the 
Cathedral by the coronation of the French kings had not 
yet rivalled the glory of St Remigius, the Apostle of the 
Franks. These instances, to which many more might be 
added, exemplify the feeling which, in the early days of 
Canterbury, placed the monastery of St Augustine above 
the monastery of Christ Church. The former was an Abbey, 
headed by a powerful dignitary, who, in any gathering of the 
Benedictine Order, ranked next after the abbot of Monte 
Casino. The latter was but a Priory, under the superintend- 
ence of the Archbishop, whose occupations usually made 
him a non-resident, and therefore not necessarily bound up 
with the interests of tlie institution of which he was but the 
nominal head. 

Besides this natural pre-eminence, -so to speak, of the 
original church of Augustine over that in which his see was 
established by Ethelbert, there was another peculiarity 
which seemed at one time hkely to perpetuate its superi- 
ority. We have seen how the position of the Abbey as the 
burial-place of Augustine was determined by the usages 
which he brought with him from Italy.* It was outside the 
walls, and within its extra-mural precincts alone the bodies 
of the illustrious dead could be deposited. To our notions 
this would seem, perhaps, of trifling importance in consider- 

' Se« "Landing of Augustinr," p. 4*. 

1 84 Relative Position of Christ Church 

ing the probable fortunes either of an edifice or of an insti- 
tution. But it was not so then ; and we shall but imperfectly 
understand the history not only of the particular subject on 
which we are now engaged, but of the whole period of the 
Middle Ages, unless we bear in mind the vast importance 
which, from the fifth century onwards till the fifteenth, was 
ascribed to the possession of relics. 

No doubt this feeling had a just and natural origin, so 
far as it was founded on the desire to retain the memorials 
of those honoured in former times. And it is almost as 
unreasonable to deprive our" great cathedrals of this legiti- 
mate source of interest, where no sanitary objections exist, 
as it was formerly to insist upon promiscuous interment 
within every church to the manifest injury of the living. 
But, however excellent this sentiment may be in itself, it was 
in the Middle Ages exaggerated beyond all due bounds by 
the peculiar reverence which at that time attached to the 
corporeal elements and particles (so to speak) of religious 
objects. To this, too, we must add, as has been well re- 
marked by a sagacious observer of ancient and modern 
usages, the concentration of all those feelings and tastes 
which now expend themselves on collections of pictures, of 
statues, of books, of manuscripts, of curiosities of all kinds, 
but which then found their vent in this one only department 
It became a mania, such as never was witnessed before or 
since. The traces which still exist in some Roman Catholic 
countries are mere shadows of what is passed. In the times 
preceding or immediately following the Christian era, it 
hardly existed at all. But at the time of the foundation of 
the two monasteries of Canterbury, and nearly through the 
whole period which we have now to consider, its influence 
was amongst the most powerful motives by which the mind 
of Europe was agitated. Hence the strange practice of dis- 
membering the bodies of saints, — a bone here, a heart there, 
a head here, — which painfully neutralises the religious and 
historical effect of even the most authentic and the most 

and SU Augustine's, 185 

sacred graves in Christendom. Hence the still stranger 
practice of the invention and sale of relics, which throws 
such doubt on the genuineness of all. Hence the monstrous 
incongruity and contradiction of reproducing the same relics 
in difterent shrines. Hence the rivalry, the thefts, the com- 
merce, of these articles of sacred merchandise, especially 
between institutions whose jealousy was increased by neigh- 
bourhood, as was the case with the two monasteries of Can- 

According to the rule just noticed, no King of Kent, no 
Archbishop of Canterbury, however illustrious in life or holy 
in death, could be interred within the precincts of the 
Cathedral, enclosed as it was by the city walls. Not only 
Augustine and Ethelbert, but Laurence, the honoured suc- 
cessor of Augustine, who had reconverted the apostate 
Eadbald, and Theodore of Tarsus, fellow-townsmen of the 
Apostle of the Gentiles, and first teacher of Greek learning 
in England, were laid beneath the shadow of St. Augustine's 
Abbey. As far as human prescience could extend, a long 
succession of sainted men was thus secured to the rival 
monastery, and the inmates of the Cathedral were doomed 
to lament the hard fate that made over to their neighbours 
treasures that seemed peculiarly their own. Thus passed 
away the first eight primates. At last an Archbishop arose, 
in whom the spirit of attachment to the monastery of which 
he was the authorised head pervailed over the deference due 
to the usages and example of the founder of his see. 
Cuthbert, the ninth Archbishop, determined by a bold stroke 
to break through the precedent by leaving his bones to his 
own Cathedral. Secretly during his lifetime he prepared a 
document, to which he procured the sanction of the King of 
Kent, and of the Pope, authorising this important deviation. 
And when at last he felt lu's end approaching, he gathered 
the monks of Christ Church round him, delivered the warrant 
into their hands, and adjured them not to toll the Cathedral 
bell till the third day after his death and burial. The order 

1 86 Change effected by 

was gladly obeyed ; the body was safely interred withm the 
Cathedral precincts, and not till the third day was the knell 
sounded which summoned the monks of St. Augustine's 
Abbey, with their Abbot Aldhelm at their head, to claim 
their accustomed prey. They were met at the gates of the 
Priory with the startling intelligence that the Archbishop 
was duly buried, and their indignant remonstrances were 
stopped by the fatal compact. There was one more attempt 
made under Jambert, the next Abbot, to carry off the body 
of the next Archbishop at the head of an armed mob. But 
the battle was won. Jambert, indeed, who w^as afterwards 
himself raised from the Abbacy of St Augustine's to the 
archiepiscopal see, could not but remeniber the claims 
which he had himself so strongly defended, and was interred 
within the walls of St Augustine's. But he was the only 
exception : and, after this, till the epoch of the Reformation, 
not more than six Primates were buried outside the pre- 
cincts of the Cathedral.* 

It has been thought worth while to relate at length this 
curious story, partly as an illustration of the relic-worship 
of the time, partly also as a necessary step in the history ot 
the Cathedral, and of that especial portion of it now before 
us. But for the intervention of Cuthbert the greatest source 
of power which the Cathedral was ever to claim would 
never have fallen to its share. The change indeed immedi- 
ately began to tell. Hitherto the monks of the Cathedral 
had been compelled to content themselves with such frag- 
ments as they could beg or steal from other churches, but 
now the vacant spaces were filled with a goodly array, not 
only of illustrious prelates, but even of canonised saints. 
Not only did the Cathedral cover the graves of ancient 
Saxon primates, and of Lanfranc, the founder of the Anglo- 
Norman hierarchy — but also those of the confessor St 
Dunstan, of the mart)T St Alphcge, of the great theologian 
St. Anselm« To those three tombs — now almost entirely 

* Thorn. 1773. 

Archbishop CuthberU 187 

vanished — the monks of Christ Church would doubtless 
have pointed in the beginning of the reign of Henry II. as 
the croA^Tiing ornaments of their Cathedral; the monks of 
St. Augustine, though they might still quote with pride the 
saying of Dunstan, that every footstep he took within their 
precincts was planted on the grave of a saint,^ would have 
confessed with a sigh that the artifice of Cuthbert had to a 
certain extent succeeded ; and, when Lanfranc ordered that 
the bells of the Abbey were not to be rung till the first note 
had been given by those of the Cathedral,^ he was perhaps 
only confirming, by his archiepiscopal authority, an equality 
already acknowledged by popular usage. 

Still the superiority of the one over the other was not 
absolutely decisive ; and neither edifice could be said to 
possess a shrine of European, hardly even of British cele- 
brity. It is probable that St. Cuthbert at Durham, St. 
Wilfrid at Ripon, St Edmund in East Anglia, equalled, in 
the eyes of most Englishmen, the claims of any saints 
buried in the metropolitical city. But the great event of 
which Canterbury was the scene, on the 29th of December 
1 1 70, at once riveted upon it the thoughts, not only of 
England, but of Christendom. A saint — so it was then 
almost universally believed — a saint of unparalleled sanctity 
had fallen, in the church of which he was Primate, a martyr 
for its rights ; and his blood, his remains, were in the pos- 
session of that church, as an inalienable treasure for ever. 
Most men were persuaded that a new burst of miraculous 
powers,3 such as had been suspended for many generations, 
had broken out at the tomb ; and the contemporary monk 
Benedict fills a volume with extraordinary cures, wrought 
within a very few years after the " Martyrdom." Far and 
wide the fame of *'St Thomas of Canterbury" spread.* 

* Acta Sanctorum, May 4, p. 78. says that dead birds were restored to life. 
' Thorn, c. vii. t. 10. l-'or MS. authorities oa the miracles, sc« 

* See Robertson, pp. 291, sqi. Lutlcr, Dec. 29. 

* See Roger of Croylaud. M Parii 

1 88 Spread of tlie Worship of St. Thomas 

Other English saints, however great their local celebrity, 
were for the most part not known beyond the limits of 
Britain, No churches in foreign parts retain the names 
even of St. Cuthbert of Durham, or St Edmund of Bur)'. 
But there is probably no country in Europe which does not 
exhibit traces of Becket In Rome, the chapel of the 
English College marks the site of the ancient church dedi- 
cated to him, and the relics attesting his martyrdom are 
laid up in the Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore beside the 
cradle of Bethlehem. In Verona, the church of San Tho- 
maso Cantuarlense contains a tooth, and did contain till 
recently part of his much-contested skull. A portion of an 
arm is still shown to inquiring travellers in a convent at 
Florence ; another portion in the church of St Waldetrude 
at Mons ; * at Lisbon, in the time of Fuller, both arms were 
exhibited in the English nunnery ; his chalice at Bourbourg, 
his hair shirt at Douay, his mitre at St Omer.' In France, 
the scene of his exile, his history may be tracked again and 
again. On the heights of Fourvitjres, overlooking the city 
of Lyons, is a chapel, dedicated to St Thomas of Canter- 
bury. Four years before his death, it is said, he was walk- 
ing on the terraced bank of the river underneath, and being 
asked to whom the chapel should be dedicated, he replied, 
" To the next martyr," on which his companion remarked, 
" Perhaps then to you." The same story with the same 
issue is also told at St Lo in Normandy. In the same pro- 
vince, at Val Richer, a tract of ground, still within the 
memory of men, was left unploughed, in recollection of a 
great English saint who had there performed his devotions. 
In Sens the vestments in which he officiated 3 and an ancient 
altar at which he said mass, are exhibited in the Cathedral ; 

' Brassciir. Thes. Rclig. Hannoniae, (See "Murder of Becket," p. 76.) On 
p. 199. (Duller, "Lives of the Saints," the feast of " Sl Thomas," till vcrj' re- 
Dec. 29.) cently, they were worn for that one day 

' Haverden's "True Church," part iiL by the officiating priest The tallcsj 

c. a. p. 3T4. (i3.) priest was always selected— and, eve« 

* The length of these vestments con- then, it wus nere&sary to pin them up. 
firms the account of his great stature. 

in Italy f France ^ Syria ^ &c, 189 

and the old convent at St. Colombe, where he resided, is 
sho>vTi outside the city. At Lille there is a house with an 
inscription commemorative of his having passed a night 
there. ^ In the magnificent windows of Chartres, of Sens, 
and of St. Ouen, the story of his life holds a conspicuous 
place. At Palermo, his figure is still to be seen in the 
Church of Monreale, founded by William the Good in the 
year of his canonisation. Even far away in Syria, " St. 
Thomas " was not forgotten by the crusading army. His 
name was inscribed on the banner of Archbishop Baldwin, 
at Acre. William, chaplain of the Dean of St. Paul's, on 
his voyage thither, made a vow that, if he entered the place 
in safety, he would build there a chapel to the " Martyr,** 
with an adjoining cemetery to bury the departed. The city 
was taken and the vow accomplished. AVilHam passed his 
life within the precincts of his church, engaged as Prior in 
the pious work of interring the dead. King Richard, at the 
same time and place, founded an order of St. Thomas under 
the jurisdiction of the Templars. And from these circum- 
stances, one of the names by which the Saint henceforward 
was most frequently known, was " Thomas Acrensis," or 
" St. Thomas of Aeon or Acre." * 

To trace his churches and memorials through the British 
dominions would be an endless labour. In Scotland, within 
seven years from the murder, the noble abbey of Aberbro- 
thock 3 was raised to his memory by William the Lion, who 
chose it for the place of his o^vn interment, partly, it would 
seem, from an early friendship contracted with the Arch- 
bishop at Henry's court, partly from a lively sense of the 
Martyr's power in bringing about his defeat and capture at 
Alnwick.^ A mutilated figure of St Thomas has survived 
amidst the ruins of the monastery. In the rough border- 

1 Di;?by's Mores Cattoljd, p. 361. of the Antiquary as " the Abbey of Sl 

* Mailland'i London, p. 885 ; Diceto, Ruth." 

654; Mill's Crusades, vol. ii. p. 89. * See "Murder of BecJcet," p. lax 

• The abbey of Aberbrothock is the The authorities for William's motives 
ruin familiar to readers of Scott's novel in the foundation of the Abbey are givea 

190 spread of the Worship of St. Thomas 

land between the two kingdoms, no oath was considered so 
binding in the 13th century, as one which was sworn upon 
''the holy mysteries" and "the sword of St. Thomas." This, 
in all probability, was the sword which Hugh de Moreville 
wore on the fatal day, and which, being preserved in his 
native province, thus obtained the same kind of honour in 
the north as that of Richard Le Bret in the south, and was 
long regarded as the chief glory of Carlisle Cathedral.* In 
England there was hardly a county which did not possess 
some church or convent connected with St Thomas. The 
immense preponderance of the name of " Thomas " in 
England, as compared with its use in other countries, pro- 
bably arose from the reverence due to the great English 
Saint. Next to the name of " John," common to all Chris- 
tendom, the most familiar to English ears is *' Tom," or 
" Thomas." How few of those who bear or give it, reflect 
that it is a vestige of the national feeling of the 12th cen- 
tury ! Another instance may be found in the frequency of 
the name of " Thomas," " the great Tom," applied to so 
many of our ancient bells. But at that time the reminis- 
cences of St. Thomas were more substantial. Besides the 
swords already mentioned, probably of Moreville and of Le 
Bret, a third sword, perhaps of Tracy or Fitzurse, was pre- 
served in the Temple ^ Church of London. At Derby, at 
Warwick, at St. Albans, at Glastonbur}', were portions of liis 
dress ; at Chester his girdle, at Alnwick or at Corby 3 his cup, 
at Bury his penknife and boots, at Windsor and Peterborough 
drops of his blood.* The priory of Woodspring on the 
Bristol Channel, the Abbey of Bcauchief in Derbyshire, 

in the " Registrum vetus de Aberbro- The above statement reconciles the diifi- 

thock," printed by the l<anuatyne Club, culty about the two swords staled in 

Pref., p. 12. Pegge Beauchief Abbey, p. 6. 

^ See "Murder of Becket," p. 107, * See Inventory of the Temple Church, 

and the account of the oath of Robert GenUeman's Magazine, May, 183S, p. 

Bruce at Carlisle, in Holinshcd, ii. 523, 516. 

and the brief" History of Carlisle Cathe- • Audin (Hist, of Henry VIII. L X35X 

dral," by its late excellent, p. 30, * See Peggc's Beauchief, p. 3 ; 

the present Archbishop of Canterbury. Nichols* Erasmus, 229. 

in London. 191 

were direct expiations of the crime.' The very name of the 
latter was traced by popular, though probably erroneous 
belief, to its connection with tlie " Bellum caput," or 
*' Beautiful head " of the slaughtered Archbishop." London 
was crowded with memorials of its illustrious citizen. The 
chapel of St. Thomas of Acre, now merged in the Mercer's 
Hall, marked the place of his birth, and formed one of the 
chief stations in the procession of the Lord Mayor. 3 The 
chapel which guarded the ancient London Bridge was dedi- 
cated to St. Thomas. The seal of the bridge " had of old 
the effigies of Thomas of Becket (a Londoner born) upon 
it, with this inscription in the name of the city, Me quse 
te peperi, ne cessis, Thoma,'^ tueri. The solitary vacant 
niche, which is seen in the front of Lambeth Palace, facing' 
the river, was once filled by a statue of the great Primate, 
to which the watermen of the Thames doffed their caps as 
they rowed by in their countless barges. 

But Canterbury was of course the centre of all. St. 
Augustine's still stood proudly aloof, and was satisfied with 
the glory of Ethelbert's baptism, which appears on its 
ancient seals ; but the arms of the city and of the chapter 
represented " the Martyrdom ; " and the very name of 
" Christ Church " or of " the Holy Trinity," by which the 
Cathedral was properly designated, was in popular usage 
merged in that of " The Church of St. Thomas." s 

For the few years immediately succeeding his death, 
there was no regular shrine. The popular enthusiasm still 
clung to the two spots immediately connected with the 
murder. The transept in which he died, within five years 
from that time acquired the name by which it has ever since 
been known, " The Martyrdom." ^ This spot, and its sub- 

1 See " Murder of Becket," pp. 105, ■ Maitland's London, 885. 

110. * Howel, Londinopolis, p. 395 (Notes 

' See Pegge'8 Beaucliief Abbey, pp. and Queries, May 22, 1858). 

6-20. He proves that tlie ground on * See Nichols' Erasmus, p. 110: 

which the abbey stands was called Beau- Somner's Canterbury, p. 18. 

cliicf, or the Deautl/ul Headland, ^xXox 'See Garnicr, 76, and "Murder of 

to the building of liie convcut. Becket," p. 83. 

192 Altar of the Swords Point, 

sequent alterations, have been already described. TTie 
flagstone on which his skull was fractured, and the solid 
comer of masonry in front of which he fell, are probably 
the only parts which remain unchanged. But against that 
comer may still be seen the marks of the space occupied 
by a wooden altar, which continued in its original simplicity 
through all the subsequent magnificence of the church till 
the time of the Reformation. It was probably the identical 
memorial erected in the first haste of enthusiasm after the 
reopening of the Cathedral for worship in 1172. It w^as 
called the altar of " The Martyrdom," or more commonly 
the altar of "The Sword's Point" ("Altare ad Punctum 
Ensis"), from the circumstance that in a wooden shed 
placed upon it was preserved the fragment of Le Bret's 
sword, which had been left on the pavement after acconv 
plishing its bloody work. Under a piece of rock crystal * 
surmounting the chest, was kept a portion of the brains. 
To this altar a regular keeper was appointed from among 
the monks, under the name of " Gustos Martyrii." In the 
first. frenzy of desire for the relics of St Thomas, even this 
guarantee was inadequate. Two memorable acts of plunder 
are recorded within the first six years, curiously illustrative 
of the prevalent passion for such objects. The first was ac- 
complished by Benedict, a monk of Christ Church, probably 
the most distinguished of his body; who was, in 1176, ap- 
pointed Abbot of Peterborough. Finding that great estab- 
lishment almost entirely destitute of relics, he returned to 
his own cathedral, and carried off with him the flagstones 
immediately surrounding the sacred spot, with which he 
formed two altars in the conventual church of his new 
appointment, besides two vases of blood and parts of 
Becket's clothing.' The other instance is still more remark- 

J See Note F. Precincts of Peterborough. This stiX 

■ Robert of Swaftham in ITist AnsHc, remains, and is now used as the Cathe- 

p. loi. Benedict also built a chapel to dral school 

St Thomas, by the gateway of the 

The Tomb m the Crypt, 193 

able. The keeper of the " Aitar of the ]Mart}Tdom " at that 
time was Roger. The monks of St. Augustine's Abbey 
offered to him (and their chroniclers ^ are not ashamed to 
boast of the success of the experiment, though affecting to 
despise any addition to their own ancient store) no less an 
inducement than the vacant abbacy, in the hope of obtain- 
ing through his means for their church a portion of the 
remains of the sacred skull, which had been specially com- 
mitted to his trust. He carried off the prize to the rival 
establishment, and was rewarded accordingly. 

Next to the actual scene of the murder, the object 
which this event invested with especial sanctity was the 
tomb in which his remains were deposited in the crypt * 
behind the altar of the Virgin. It was to this spot that the 
first great rush of pilgrims was made when the church was 
reopened in 1172, and it was here that Henry performed 
his penance.3 Hither, on the 21st of August 11 79, came 
the first King of France who ever set foot on the shores of 
England, Louis VII., warned by St. Thomas in dreams, and 
afterwards, as he believed, receiving his son back from a 
dangerous illness through the Saint's intercession. He knelt 
by the tomb, and offered upon it the celebrated jewel (of 
which more shall be said hereafter), as also his own rich cup 
of gold. To the monks he gave a hundred measures of wine, 
to be paid yearly at Poissy, as well as exemption of toll, 
tax, and tallage, '^ on going to or from his domains, and 
was himself, after passing a night in prayers at the tomb, 
admitted to the fraternity of the monastery in the Chapter 
House. It was on this occasion (such was the popular 
belief of the Dover seamen) that he asked and obtained 

1 Thorne, 1176, Holinshed. were foiled by the vigilance of the monks, 

•See "Murder of Beckct ' p. loi. and by a miraculous storm. — Benedict de 

On one occasion the body was removed Mirac, i. 50. 

to a wooden chest in fear of an assault * See " Murder of Becket," p. 119, 

from the old enemies of Becket, who * Diceto, 604; Gervasc, 1455; Stow, 

were thought to be lurking armed about 155 ; Holinshed, ii. 178. 
the church for that purpose. Dut tl.oy 

194 ^/^^ P^^^ ^1174- 

from the Saint (" because he was very fearful of the water ") 
that " neither he nor any others that crossed over from 
Dover to Witsand, should sulTer any manner of loss or 
shipwreck." * Richard's first act, on landing at SandNvich, 
after his return from Palestine, was to walk all the way to 
Canterbury to give thanks " to God and St. Thomas " for 
his deliverance.* Thither also came John in great state 
immediately after his coronation. 3 The spot was always re- 
guarded with reverence, and kno^^^l by the name of " The 
Tomb," with a special keeper. It would probably have 
invested the whole cr^-pt with its own peculiar sacredness, 
and rendered it — like that of Chartres in old times — the 
most important part of the church, but for an accidental 
train of circumstances which led to the erection of the great 
Shrine whose history is now to be unfolded. 

About four years after the murder, on the 5th of Sep- 
tember, 1 1 74, a fire broke out in the Cathedral which re- 
duced the choir — hitlierto its chief architectural glory — to 
ashes. The grief of the people is described in terms which 
(as has been before observed *) show how closely the expres- 
sion of mediaeval feeling resembled what can now only be seen 
in Italy or the East — " They tore their hair ; they beat the 
walls and pavement of the church with their shoulders and 
the palms of their hands ; they uttered tremendous curses 
against God and his saints — even the patron saint of the 
church ; they wished they had rather have died than seen 
such a day." How far more like the description of a Nea- 
politan mob in disappointment at the slow liquefaction of 
the blood of St. Januarius, than of the citizens of a quiet 
cathedral town in the county of Kent ! The monks, though 
appalled by the calamity for a time, soon recovered them- 
selves ; workmen and architects, French and EngHsh, were 
procured ; and, amongst the former, William, from the city 
of Sens, so familiar to all Canterbury at that period as the 

* I^tmbard's Kent, p. 129. • Diceto, 7ofi. 

• Eroniplon, 1257. • See " Murder of PecVet." p. 7> 

William of Setts and William the Englishman. 195 

scene of Becket's exile. No observant traveller can have 
seen the two Cathedrals without remarking how closely the 
details of William's workmanship at Canterbury Vv^ere sug- 
gested by his recollections of his ovm church at Sens, built 
a short time before. The forms of the pillars, the vaulting 
of the roof, even the very bars and patterns of the windows, 
are almost identical. It is needless to go into the story of 
the restoration, thoroughly worked out as it has been by 
Professor Willis in his " Architectural History of Canterbury 
Cathedral;" but it is important to observe in the contempo- 
rary account preserved to us,' how the position and the 
removal of the various relics is the principal object, if not 
in the mind of the architect, at least of the monks who em- 
ployed him. It was so even for the lesser and older relics 
— much more than for the greater and more recent treasure 
for which they were to provide a fitting abode, and through 
which they were daily obtaining those vast pecuniary re- 
sources that alone could have enabled them to rebuild the 
church on its present splendid scale. The French architect 
had unfortunately met with an accident which disabled him 
from continuing his operations. After a vain struggle to 
superintend the works by being carried round the church in 
a litter, he was compelled to surrender the task to a name- 
sake, an Englishman, and it is to him that we owe the design 
of that part of the Cathedral which was destined to receive 
the sacred shrine. 

To those who are unacquainted with the fixed concate- 
nation of ideas, if one may so speak, which guided the 
arrangement of these matters at a time when they occupied 
so prominent a place in the thoughts of men, it might seem 
a point of comparative indifference where the Tomb of the 
Patron Saint to be erected. But it was not so in the 
age of which we speak. In this respect, a marked difference 
prevailed between the primitive and southern practice on the 

• Crrvase, in the "Decern Scriptorcs," and Professor Willis's "History of Canter* 
bury Callicdral," c. 3. 

igS SepultiLre of Saints. 

one hand, and tlie mcdixval and northern practice on the 
other hand. In Italy the bones of a saint or mart}T were 
almost invariably deposited either beneath or immediately 
in front of the altar. Partly, no doubt, this arose from the 
Apocalyptic image of the souls crying from beneath the 
altar ; chiefly from the fact, that in the original burial-places 
of the catacombs, the altar, or table of the Eucharistic feast, 
was erected over the grave of some illustrious saint, so that 
they might seem, even in death, to hold communion with 
him. Eminent instances of this practice may be seen at 
Rome, in the vault supposed to contain the remains of St 
Peter, and at Milan, in that which in the Cathedral is occu- 
pied by the grave of St. Carlo Borromco, and in the church 
of St Ambrogio by that of St. Ambrose. But in the Gothic 
nations this original notion of the burial-place of the Saints 
became obscured, in the increasing desire to give them a 
more honourable place. According to the precise system 
of orientation adopted by the German and Celtic nations, 
the eastern portion of the church was in those countries re- 
garded as pre-eminently sacred. Thither the high altar was 
gradually moved, and to it the eyes of the congregation 
were specially directed. And in the eagerness to give a 
higher and holier even than the highest and the holiest place 
to any great saint, on whom popular devotion was fastened, 
there sprang up in most of the larger churches during the 
13th century a fashion of throwing out a still further eastern 
end, in which the shrine or altar of the saint might be 
erected, — and to which, therefore, not merely the gaze of 
the whole congregation, but of the officiating priest himself, 
even as he stood before the high altar, might be constantly 
turned. Thus, according to Fuller's quaint remark, the 
superstitious reverence for the dead reached its highest pitch 
— " the porch saying to the churchyard, the church to the 
porch, the chancel to the church, the east end to all — 
^ Stand further off, I am holier than thou.' " » This notion 

* Church History, H. cent vUI. aS. 

Enlargement of the East End^ 197 

happened to coincide in point of time with the burst of devo- 
tion towards the Virgin Mary, which took place under the 
Pontificate of Innocent III., during the first years of tlie 
13th century; and, therefore, in all cases where there was 
no special local saint, this eastern end was dedicated to 
" Our Lady," and the chapel thus formed was called " The 
Lady Chapel." Such was the case in the Cathedrals of 
SaHsbury, Norwich, Hereford, Wells, Gloucester, and Ches- 
ter. But when the popular feeling of any city or neighbour- 
hood had been directed to some indigenous object of 
devotion, this at once took the highest place, and the Lady 
Chapel, if any there were, was thrust down to a less honour- 
able position. Of this arrangement, the most notable 
instances in England are, or were (for in many cases the 
very sites have perished), the shrines of St Alban in Hert- 
fordshire, St Edmund at Bury, St Edward in Westminster 
Abbey, St Cuthbert at Durham, and St. Etheldreda at Ely. 
These were the general principles which determined the 
space to be alloted to the shrine of St Thomas in the re- 
construction of Canterbury Cathedral.^ In earlier times the 
easternmost chapel had contained an altar of the Holy 
Trinity, where Becket had been accustomed to say mass. 
Partly for the sake of preserving the two old Norman 
towers of St Anselm and St Andrew, which stood on the 
north and south side of this part of the church — but chiefly 
for the sake of fitly uniting to the church this eastern chapel 
on an enlarged scale, the pillars of the choir were contracted 
with that singular curve which attracts the eye of every 
spectator, as Gervase foretold that it would, when, in order 
to explain this peculiarity, he stated the two aforesaid rea- 
sons.' The eastern end of the Cathedral, thus enlarged, 
formed, as at Ely, a more spacious receptacle for the hon- 
oured remains ; the new Trinity Chapel, reaching consider- 
ably beyond the extreme limit of its predecessor, and opening 
beyond into a yet further chapel, popularly called Becket'3 

» Gervase (b Willis's Canterbury Cathedral, p. 56). ■ ///./., p. 60. 

198 Translation of the Relics, [122a 

<^'ro\vn. The windows were duly filled with the richest 
painted glass of the period, and amongst those on the 
northern side may still be traced elaborate representations 
of the miracles wrought at the subterraneous tomb, or by 
visions and intercessions of the mighty Saint High in the 
tower of St. Anselm, on the south side of the destined site of 
so great a treasure, was prepared — a usual accompaniment 
of costly shrines — the Watching Chamber.* It is a rude 
apartment, v/ith a fireplace where the watcher could warm 
himself during the long winter nights, and* a narrow gallery 
between the pillars, whence he could overlook the whole 
platform of the shrine, and at once detect any sacrilegious 
robber who was attracted by the immense treasures there 
collected. On the occasion of fires tlie shrine was ad- 
ditionally guarded by a troop of fierce ban-dogs.' 

When the Cathedral was thus duly prepared, the time 
came for what, in the language of those days, was termed 
the *' Translation " of the relics. 

It was the year 1220: in every sense — so the contem- 
porary chronicler observes 3 — an auspicious moment. It 
seemed to the people of the time as if the long delay had 
been interposed in order that a good king and a good arch- 
bishop might be foimd together to solemnise the great event 
The wild Richard and tlie wicked John had gone to their 
account ; and there was now seated on tlie throne the young 
Henry III. ; his childhood (for he was but a boy of thirteen), 
his unpretending and inoffensive character, won for him a 
reputation which he hardly deserved, but which might well 
be granted to him after such a predecessor : the first troubled 
years of his reign were finished — the later calamities had net 
begun : he had just laid the first foundation of the new 

« A similar purpose may be assigned • Ellis's Original Letters, third series, 

to the structures near the site of St. y^\ iiu p. 164. 

Ftiueswide's Shrine in the Cathedral of • Robert of Gloucester, who observcil 

CluLst Church, Oxford ; and of St. Al- all ilie coincidences in his mclricsJ Life 

ban's Shrine in the Abbey of St. Albon, of Uecket, aSao. 
io II(.rtrorJ;>hire. 

1220.] LangtoJt, 199 

Abbey Church of Westminster, and all recollection of his 
irregular coronation at Gloucester had been effaced by his 
solemn inauguration on May 1 7, the "WTiitsunday of this very 
year. The primate to whose work the lot fell, was one 
whose name commands far more unquestioned respect than 
the weak King Henry j it was the Cardinal Archbishop, the 
great Stephen Langton, whose work still remains amongst 
us in the familiar division of the Bible into chapters, and in 
the Magna Charta, which he was the chief means of WTest- 
ing from the reluctant John. He was now advanced in 
years, recently returned from his long exile, and had just 
assisted at the coronation of the King at Westminster. The 
year also and the day in that age of ceremonial observance 
of times and seasons, seem.ed providentially marked out for 
such an undertaking. The year was the 50th year from the 
murder, which thus gave it the appearance of a jubilee ; and 
it was a bissextile or leap-year, and this seemed an omen 
that no day would be wanting for the blessings to be pro- 
cured through the MartjT's intercession. The day also was 
marked by the coincidences which had made a lasting im- 
pression on the minds of that period, Tuesday, tlie 7th 
of July ; — Tuesday, the fatal day of Becket's life : the 7th of 
July also, the same day of the month on which, thirty years 
before, the remains of his royal adversary, Henry II., had 
been carried to the vault of the Abbey of Fontevraud.' 
There must have been those living who remembered the 
mournful spectacle, the sohtarj- hearse descending from the 
castle of Chinon, where the unhappy king had died deserted 
by friends and children, — the awful scene, when the scanty 
procession was met at the entrance of the abbey by Richard, 
— when the face of the dead corpse was uncovered as it lay 
on the bier marked with the expression of the long agony of 
death, — when (according to the popular belief) blood gushed 

* All these coincidences are noticed keep up the memory of the Translation, 
by Laiifton In a iract or sermon circu- published in Gilck' CuUecLiau, VoL iL p. 
lalcd by him in the following ye^ir, to 376. 

200 Langton, [122a 

from the nostrils, as if to rebuke the unnatural son for his 
share in having thus brought his father's gray hairs in sorrow 
to the grave. 

The contrast of that scene with the funeral, which now 
took place on the anniversary of the day, in 1220, must 
have been, even to indifferent bystanders, most striking. 
It was indeed a magnificent spectacle. Such an assemblage 
had never been collected in any part of England before;^ 
all the surrounding villages were filled — 

*' Of bishops and abbots, priors and parsons, 
Of earls, and of barons, and of many knights thereto ; 
Of Serjeants, and of squires, and of husbandmen enow 
And of simple men eke of the land — so thick thither drew."* 

The Archbishop had given two years' notice in a procla- 
mation, circulated not only throughout England, but through- 
out Europe ; and through the range of his episcopal manors, 
had issued orders for maintenance to be provided for the 
vast multitude, not only in the city of Canterbury itself, but 
on the various roads by which they would approach. 3 
During the whole celebration, along the whole way from 
London to Canterbury, hay and provender was given to all who 
asked,-* and at each gate of Canterbur}',5 in the four quarters 
of the city, and in the four licensed cellars, were placed 
tuns of wine, to be distributed gratis ; and on the day of the 
festival, wine ran freely through the gutters of the streets.* 

On the eve of the appointed day the Archbishop, with 
Richard, Bishop of Salisbury, and the whole body of monks, 
headed by their Prior, Walter, entered the crypt by night, 
with psalms and hymns, and, after prayer and fasting, at 
midnight solemnly approached the tomb and removed the 
stones which closed it, and with tears of joy,7 saw for the 

» Waverley Annals ; Gale's Scrlptorei, • Knyghton, 3430. 

in. 185. * Archaeologia, ix. 4a; Pollstolre. Se« 

• Robert of Gloucester, 9848. Note A. 

• Waverley Annals. lb. ' Rubcit of Gloucester, 2374. 

• Polisloire. See Note A. 

1220.] Langton — Pilgrimages, 201 

first time the remains of the Saint. Four priests, distin- 
guished for the sanctity of their lives, took out the reHcs — ■ 
first the head (then, as ahvays, kept separate), and offered it 
to be kissed ; the bones were then deposited in a chest well 
studded with iron nails and closed with iron locks, and laid 
in a secret chamber. 

The next day a long procession entered the Cathedral. 
It was headed by the young king, " King Henry, the young 
child." Next was the Italian Pandulf, Bishop of Norwich, 
and Legate of the Holy See ; and Archbishop Langton, 
accompanied by his brother Primate of France, the Arch- 
bishop of Rheims. With them was Hubert de Burgh, the 
Lord High Justiciary and greatest statesman of his time, 
and "four great lordlings, noble men and tried." On the 
shoulders of this distinguished band the chest was raised, 
and the procession moved forward. The King, on account 
of his tender age, was not allowed to take any part in bear- 
ing the sacred load. Onwards it was borne, and up the 
successive stages of the Cathedral, till it reached the Shrine 
awaiting its reception, eastward of the Patriarchal Chair;' 
and there it was deposited. Mass was celebrated by the 
French Primate, in the midst of nearly the whole * episco- 
pate of the province of Canterbury, before an altar, which, 
placed in front of the screen of the choir, was visible to the 
vast congregation assembled in the nave. 3 The day was 
enrolled amongst the great festivals of the English Church 
as the ** Feast of the Translation of St Thomas." The ex- 
penses incurred by the See of Canterbury were hardly paid 
off by Langton's fourth successor.'* 

And now began the long succession of pilgrimages 
which for three centuries gave Canterbury a place amongst 
the great resorts of Christendom, and which, through 
Chaucer's poem, have given it a lasting hold on the memory 

' Pollstolre. Note A- • Dr. Pauli's History of England, liL 

• Three only were abacat Note A. 5=>' • Kayghton, 2730. 

202 Approach from SandivicJi, 

of Englishmen as long as English literature exists. Txt us 
endeavour through the means of that poem, and through 
other incidental notices, to reproduce the picture of a mode 
of life which has now entirely passed away from England, 
though it may still be illustrated from some parts of tlie 

There were during this period three great approaches to 
Canterbury. For pilgrims who came from the eastern parts 
of Europe, Sandwich was the ordinary place of debarkation. 
From this point, the Kings of England, on their return from 
France, and the Kings of France on their way to England, 
must commonly have made their journey. Two records of 
this route are preserved by foreigners.^ In one respect the 
travellers of that age and this were on a level. As they 
crossed the Channel, they were dreadfully sea-sick, and 
" lay on the deck as if they were dead ;" but they had still 
life enough left to observe the various objects of the strange 
land that they were approaching. The white cliffs of Dover, 
as they rose into view above the sea, seemed "like moun- 
tains of snow : " of Dover Castle they speak as we migl.t 
speak of Sebastopol — " the strongest fortress in Christen- 
dom." Sailing by this tremendous place, the work, they 
were told, of evil spirits, they arrived at Sandwich. It is 
striking to perceive the impression which that now decayed 
and deserted haven produced on their minds ; they speak of 
it as we might speak of Liverpool or Portsmouth — the resort 
of ships from all quarters — vessels of every size — now seen 
by them for the first time; and most of all the agility of the 
sailors in running up and down the masts — one especially, 
absolutely incomparable. From this busy scene they moved 
onwards to Canterbury. Their expectations had been 
highly raised by its fame in foreign parts ; at a distance, 
however, the point that chiefly struck them was the long 

* See the short account of the visit hemian ambassador In 1446, as given i& 
of Si^smund in 14T7, by Wcndcclt, and Note B. 
the longer account of the visit of the Do* 

Approach from Southampton^ etc, 203 

Kne of leaden roof, unlike the tiled covering of the conti- 
nental Cathedrals.' \\Tiat they saw at the Shrine of "St. 
Thomas of Kandelberg," * as they called him in their ovni 
country, shall be seen as we proceed. 

Another line of approach was along the old British track 
which led across the Surrey downs from Southampton ; il 
can still be traced under the name 3 of the Pilgrims'-way, or 
the Pilgrims'-lane, marked often by long lines of Kentish 
yews, — usually creeping half-way up the hills immediately 
above the line of cultivation, and under the highest crest, — 
passing here and there a solitary chapel or friendly monas- 
tery, but avoiding for the most part the towns and villages 
and the regular roads, probably for the same reason as 
"in the days of Shamgar, the son of Anath, the highways 
were unoccupied, and the travellers walked through bye- 
ways." * 

This must have been the usual route for Pilgrims from 
Normandy and from the west of England. But no doubt 
he most frequented road was that from London, celebrated 
in Chaucer's poem of the " Canterbury Tales." It would 
be out of place here to enter on any general review of that 
remarkable v/ork. All that can here be proposed is to ex- 
amine hov/ far the poem illustrates, or is illustrated by, the 
Canterbury pilgrimage which suggested it 

In the first place we may observe that every element of 
society except the very highest and lowest was represented 
— the knight, the yeoman, the prioress, with her attendant 
nuns and three priests, — the monk, the friar, the merchant, 
the Oxford scholar, the lawyer, the squire, the five trades- 
men, the cook, the shipman, the physician, the great clothier 
of Bath, the parish priest, the miller, the reeve, the man- 

* " Desuper stanno totura conte- • See Mr. Wajr's tccount of the Pil- 

gitur." Leo von Rotimiul, pp. 39, 44. grims' Road in Note D. 

They observe the same of Salisbury, p. 46. * Compare Arnold's Lectures on 

■ So he is called, both by the Bol.e- Modem History (Lecture 2), where the 

miani (see Note B.) and by the Germans, same observation is made on ancient 

Wcndeck's Life of the Emperor Si^is- roads generaliy. 
mund, & 42> 

204 Approach from London, 

ciple, the apparitor of the law-courts, the seller of indul- 
gences, and the poet himself. These no doubt are selected 
as the types of the classes who would ordinarily have been 
met on such an excursion. No one can read tlie account 
of their characters, still less the details of their conversation, 
without being struck by the extremely miscellaneous nature 
of the company. On the one hand, we see how widely the 
passion for pilgrimages extended, how completely it swept 
into its vortex all the classes who now travel together in 
excursion trains, or on Rhine steam-boats. On the other 
hand, we see how light a touch it laid on the characters of 
those concerned — how much of levity, how little of gravity, 
was thought compatible with an object professedly so serious. 
As relics took the place of all the various natural objects of 
interest which now occupy the minds of religious, Hterary, 
or scientific men, so pilgrimages took the place of modem 
tours. A pilgrim was a traveller with the same adventures, 
stories, pleasures, pains, as travellers now ; the very names 
by which we express the most listless wanderings are 
taken from pilgrimages to the most solemn places : if we 
may trust etymological conjectures, a ^^ roafner" was one 
who had visited the Apostles' graves at Rome; and a ** saun- 
icrer^^ one who had wandered through the *' Sainte terre," 
or Holy Land; and, in like manner, the easy 'U-antcr" oi 
our modern rides, is an abbreviation, comparatively recent, 
of the "Canterbury gallop,"' derived, no doubt, from the 
ajnbling pace of the Canterbury pilgrims. Let us be thank- 
ful for the practice in this instance, as having given us 
in Chaucer's prologue an insight into the state of society 
in the fourteenth century, such as nothing else can 

In the second place, we learn from his selection of such 
a company and such a time as the vehicle of his tales, how 
widely spread was the fame of Canterbury as the resort of 

* Even In Johnson's Dictionary, "Canterbury gallop" Is given as the full 
txpression, of which " Canter" is only mentioned as a colloquial corruption. 








Canterbury Tales. 205 

English pilgrims. Every reader, he felt, would at once 
understand the scene, and that he felt truly is shown by the 
immense popularity of his work at the time. And further, 
though the details of the plan as laid down in his prologue 
are a mere creation of the poet's fancy ; yet the practice of 
telling stories on the journeys to and from Canterbury must 
have been common in order to give a likelihood to such 
a plan. It was even a custom for the bands of pilgrims to 
be accompanied by hired minstrels and story-tellers, as the 
friends of the practice maintained, that " with such solace 
the travail and weariness of pilgrims might be lightly and 
merrily borne out ;" as their enemies said, ** that they might 
sing wanton songs, and then, if these men and women be 
half a month out in their pilgrimage, many of them shall be 
half a year after, great jugglers, story-tellers, and liars." * 
And, in point of fact, the marvels that were related on these 
occasions, probably on the return from the wonder-working 
shrine, were such as to have given rise to the proverbial 
expression of a "Canterbury Tale," as identical with a 
fabulous story. It is noticed as such even as late as the time 
of Fuller,* and, although it is now probably extinct in Eng- 
land, it travelled with many other old provincialisms across 
the Atlantic ; and our brethren of the United States, when 
they come to visit our metropolitical city, are struck by the 
strange familiarity with which its name recurs to them, 
having from their earliest years been accustomed to hear 
a marvellous story followed by the exclamation, "What a 
Canterbury I" 3 In conceiving the manner in which these 
tales were related, a moment's reflection will show us that 
they were not told, as we often imagine, to the whole com- 
pany at once. Every one who has ridden in a cavalcade of 
travellers along a mountain pathway — and such, more or 
less, were the roads of England at the time of Chaucer — 

* Dialogue of Archbishop Arundel " This observation I derived from an 

and William Thorpe. (Nichols' Eras- intelligent American clergyman on a visit 
BDUS, 188.} to Canterbury. 

' Fuller*! Worthief, Kent (ProverU). 


2o6 Canterbury Tales. 

will see at once that this would be impossible. Probably 
they were in point of fact related in the midday halts or 
evening meals of the party. In the present instance tlie 
poet represents the host as calling the story-teller out of the 
ranks to repeat the tale to him as the judge. " Do him 
come forth," he cries to the cook ; and to the monk, " Read 
forth, mine own Lord ; " ' and the rest hear or not, accord- 
ing to their curiosity or their nearness — a circumstance which 
to some extent palliates the relation of some of the coarser 
stories in a company which contained the prioress, the nuns, 
the parson, and tlie scholar. 

Finally, we cannot fail to mark how thoroughly the time 
and season of the year falls in with the genius and intention 
of the poet. It was, he tells us, the month of April Evciy 
year, as regular as " April with his showers sweet " " the 
drought of March hath pierced to the root," came round 
again the Pilgrims' start — 

** When Zephyrus eke with his sweet breath 
Inspired halh in every holt and heath. 
The tender crops .... 
And small fowls are making melody 
That sleepen all night with open eye • • > 
Then longen folk to go on pilgrimages. 
And specially from every shire's end 
Of England, to Canterbury they wend 
The holy blissful martyr for to seek, 
That them hath holpen when that they were sick. " 

These opening lines give the colour to Chaucer's whole 
work ; it is in every sense the spring of English poetr)' : 
through every line we seem to feel the freshness and vigour 
of that early morning start — as the merry cavalcade winds 
its way over the hills and forests of Surrey or of Kent 
Never was the scene and atmosphere of a poem more 
appropriate to its contents, more naturally sustained and 
felt tluough all its parts. 

1 Chauctr, i^^fio, 13'^ Jo. 

Canterbury Tales, 207 

\Viien from the general illustrations furnished by the 
Canterbury pilgrimage we pass to the details of the poem, 
there is unfortunately but little light thrown by one upon 
the other. Not only are the stages of the route indistinctly 
marked, but the geography of the poem, though on a small 
scale, introduces incongruities almost as great as those of the 
"Winter's Tale" and "The Two Gentlemen of Verona." 
The journey, although at that time usually occupying three 
or four days, is compressed into the hours between sunrise 
and sunset on an April day : an additional pilgrim is made 
to overtake them within seven miles of Canterbury, "by 
galloping hard for three miles ; " and the tales of the last 
two miles occupy a space equal to an eighth part of the 
whole journey of fifty miles. Still, such as the local notices 
are, they must be observed. 

It was at the Tabard Inn in South wark that the twenty- 
nine pilgrims met The site of the house is now marked 
by a humble tavern, the Talbot Inn, No. 75, High Street, 
Borough-road : ' a modem front faces the street, but at the 
back of a long passage a court-yard opens, surrounded by 
an ancient wooden gallery, not dating, it is said, beyond 
the 1 6th century. Some likeness, however, of the older 
arrangements is probably still preserved. Its former cele- 
brity is commemorated by a large picture or sign, hung 
from its balustrade, which represents, in faded colours, the 
Cavalcade of the Pilgrims. Its ancient sign must have been 
the coat or jacket, now only worn by heralds, but then by 
noblemen in war ; and it was no doubt selected as the ren- 
dezvous of the Pilgrims, as the last inn on the outskirts c/ 
London before entering on the Wilds of Surrey. Another 
inn, long since disappeared, entitled " The Bell," was close 
by. " The Tabard " was doubtless tlicn one of the most 
flourishing hotels in London : 

** Tlie chambers and the halls were wide.** 
^ Alas I tlie last traces of the Tabard Ian disappeared in 1873. 

2o8 Canterbury Tales, 

The host was a man of consideration : 

** A fairer burgess was there none in Cheep,* 

that is, Cheapside, then the abode of the wealthiest citizens 
of London. He seems to have been a well-known character, 
and his name, Henry Bailey, was remembered even till the 
time of Elizabeth.* 

It was on the morning of the 28th of April, " when the 
day began to spring," that the company set forth from the 
inn, headed by the host, who was to act as guide, and who 
"gathered them together in a flock." Those who have 
seen the move of an Eastern caravan of European travellers 
can best form a notion of the motley group of grave and gay, 
old and young, that must have often been then gathered 
on the outskirts of London. A halt took place " a little 
more than a pace " at the second milestone, at the spring, 
called from this circumstance " the Waterings of St 
Thomas;"' thus corresponding to the well-known halt 
which caravans make a few miles from Cairo, on tlie first 
day's march, to see whether all the party are duly assembled 
and all the necessaries for the long journey duly pro^^ded. 

At half-past seven a,m. they reached Deptford and 

" Lo Deptford, and is half way prime : 
Lo Greenwich, there many a shrew is in.'' 

By midday^ 

•' Lo Rochester standeth here fast by."' 

Sittingboume was probably the place for refreshment : 
"Before I come to Sidenboume,"* 
implies that it was a point to be looked for as a halt 

* Tyrwhitl. Preface to Chaucer, 85. * Chaucer, 1390, 395O. 

See also the elaborate account of ihe inn * Cliauccr, 6428. In the Germ** 

In Knight'i Chaucer's Tales. account of Sigismund's visit, it is mcrv 

• Chaucer, 8a8. tioned as " Siifnpoti." Wendeck, c 4» i 

Entrance into Cmiterhiry, 209 

And now they were approaching the steep hills of the 
forest of Blean, when, probably anxious to join them before 
that long ascent, "at Boughton under Blee," the village 
which lies at the western foot of the hill — a new companion 
overtook them, the servant of the rich canon — so powerful 
an alchymist, that they are assured as they go up the steep 
paved road, as it tlien was, now within seven miles from 
their destination, 

** That all the ground on which we be riding, 
Till that we come to Canterbury town. 
He could all clean turn upside down, 
And pave it all of silver and of gold,"* 

They now passed the point where all travellers along 
that road must have caught the welcome sight of the central 
tower of Canterbury Cathedral, with the gilded Angel then 
shining on its summit For a moment the tower is seen, 
and then disappears, as the road sinks again amidst the 
undulations of the wild country, which still retains the traces 
of what was the great forest of Blee, or Blean, — famous in 
recent times as the resort of the madman or fanatic, who 
rallied round him, in 1838, the rude peasants of the neigh- 
bouring villages in the thicket of Bosenden Wood. But 
they were now at the last halting-place; just where the 
forest ends — ^just where tlie hilly ascent rises and falls for 
the last time, 

" Wist ye not where standeth a little town, 
Which that ycleped is Bob up and down. 
Under the Blee in Canterbury way." * 

There can be little doubt that this "Httle town" was 

* Chaucer, 16024, 16066. It U an In- But as the text stands In Tyrwhitt's 

gcnious conjecture of Tyrwhitt, that a edition, the order must be as I have 

great confusion has been here Introduced; represented it. The arrangement 0/ 

that the Nun's Talo was Intended to be the MSS. of Chaucer Is evidently very 

on the return from Canterbury ; and doubtfuL 

h«nce the otherwise difficult expression " Chaucer, 16950. The explanat!o« 

of the "five miles" silence before she here given has been contested by Mx. 

begins, and of the " tliree miles " gallop FurnivaU. 
of the canon's servant to overtake them. 

210 Entrance into Canterli-ry, 

the old village of Harbledo^\'n, clustered round the ancient 
lazar-house of Lanfranc* Its situation on the crest of the 
hill, under the forest of Blean, suggested to the pilgrims 
the familiar name by which it is here called. They had but 
to go " up and down " once more, and the Cathedral burst 
upon them. It was now, according to the poet's calcula- 
tion, four in the afternoon, and they would easily reach 
Canterbury before sunset 
Unfortunately, he 

•• who left half told 
The story of Cambuscan bold,* 

has left unfinished the story of the travellers. The plan 
was to have embraced the arrival at Canterbury, and tlie 
stories of what there befell to be told on their return, and 
he supper at the Tabard, when the host was to award the 
prize to the best. For lovers of Chaucer's simple and 
genial poetry this is much to be lamented ; but for histori- 
cal purposes the gap is in a great measure filled by the 
Supplementary Tale,* evidently written within a short time 
after the poet's death, which relates the story of their 
arrival, and a few of their adventures in the city. By the 
help of this, and whatever other light can be thrown on 
the subject, we may endeavour to reproduce the general 
aspect which Canterbury and its pilgrims presented on 
their arrival. 

A great difference doubtless would have been made 
according to the time when we entered Canterbury, whether 
with such an occasional group of pilgrims as might visit the 
Shrine at ordinar}' seasons, or on the great days of St. Thomas; 
either the winter festival of his " Mart}Tdom," on the 29th 
of December, or the summer festival of the Translation of 

* It was sometimes called the Hafi- which U now lost; and Is reprinted from 

tnle dt bosco dt DUan. DusJale, vol i.f thence in Wright's edition of Chaucer, 

part a, p. 653. Percy Society, vol. xx\n. rP- »9i-3'8, 

■ The Siipplcmertary Tale is printed from whom I have quoted it. modernising 

In Urry's edition of Chaucer, from a MS. the spelling to make it intellieible. 

Jubilees, 2ii 

his relics, on the 7th of July,* which (as falling in a more 
genial season) v.-as far more frequented. Still greater would 
have been the difference had we been there at one of the 
jubilees, that is, one of the fiftieth anniversaries of the Trans- 
lation ; when indulgences were granted to all who came, 
and the festival lasted for a fortnight, dating from midnight 
on the vigil of the Feast There were from the first conse- 
cration of the Shrine to its final overthrow, six such anni- 
versaries, 1270, 1320, 1370, 1420, 1470, 1520. What a 
succession of pictures of English history, and of the religious 
feeling of the time, would be revealed if we could but place 
ourselves in Canterbury as those successive waves of pil- 
grimage rolled through the place, bearing with them all their 
various impressions of the state of the world at that time ! 
On one of those occasions, in 1420, no less than a hundred 
thousand persons were tlius collected : they came from all 
parts, but chiefly from the British dominions, at that time — 
immediately after the great battle of Agincourt — extending 
far over the neighbouring continent. Englishmen, with their 
language just struggling into existence — Scotch, Irish, and 
Welsh, with their different forms of Celtic — Frenchmen and 
Normans, and the inhabitants of the Channel Islands, 
pouring forth their questions in French — are amongst 
those expressly stated to have been present* How vari- 
ous, too, the motives — some, such as kings and ministers 
of state, from policy and ancient usage — others, merely for 
the excitement of a long journey with good companions, — 
others, travelling from shrine to shrine, as men now travel 
from watering-place to watering-place, for the cure of some 
obstinate disorder, — some from the genuine feeling of reli- 
gion, that expresses itself in lowly hearts, under whatever is 
the established form of the age, — some from the grosser 
superstition of seeking to make a ceremonial and local 

* On this day began the annual Can- the name of Beckct's Fair. Soniner'« 
terbury Fair, which continued long after C.intcrbory, p. 124. 
tb« cessation of the Pilgrimage, under * Somncr, part i. App., No. xliv. 

212 Tlie hms, 

obsenMnce the substitute for moral acts and holy thoughts 
What a sight, too, must have been presented, as all along the 
various roads through the long summer day, these hetero- 
geneous bands — some on horseback, some on foot — moved 
slowly along, with music, and song, and merr}^ tales, so that 
" every to^^^l they came thro', what with the noise of their 
singing, and with the sound of their piping, and with the 
jangling of their Canterbury bells, and with the barking of 
the dogs after them, they made more noise than if the King 
came there with all his clarions and many other minstrels," 
. . . " And when one of the pilgrims that goeth barefoot 
striketh his toe upon a stone, and hurteth him sore, and 
maketh him bleed," then " his fellow sings a song, or else 
takes out of his bosom a bagpipe to drive away \Nith wit and 
mirth the hurt of his fellow."' Probably at the first sight of 
the Cathedral this discordant clamour would be exchanged 
for more serious sounds, hymns, and exhortations, and telling 
of beads; even Chaucer's last tale between Harbledown and 
Canterbury is a sermon : and thus the great masses of human 
beings would move into the city. 

Their first object would be to find lodgings. It is pro- 
bable, that to meet this want, there were many more inns at 
Canterbury than at present At the great sanctuary of 
Einsiedlen, in Switzerland, almost every house in tlie long 
street of the straggling town which leads up to the monas- 
tery is decorated with a sign, amounting altogether to no 
less than fifty. How many of the present inns at Canter- 
bury date from that time cannot perhaps be ascertained. 
One, the Star Inn, in St. Dunstan's parish, which is supposed 
to have been the receptacle of the pilgrims who there halted 
on their entrance into the to\vn, has long since been absorbed 
in the surrounding houses. But the site and, in part, the 
buildings of the lodgings which, according to the Supple- 
mentary Tale, received the twenty-nine pilgrims of Chaucer, 
can still be seen, although its name is gone and its destina- 

* William Thorpe's Examination, ia Nichola' Erasmus, p. x88. 

TJie Chequers, 213 

Hon altered* "The Chequers of the Hope" occupied the 
antique structure, which, with its broad overhanging eaves, 
forms so picturesque an object at the corner of High Street, 
and Mercery Lane. It was repaired on a grand scale by 
Prior Chillenden,^ shortly after the time of Chaucer. Its 
vicinity to the great gate of the Precincts naturally pointed 
it out as one of the most eligible quarters for strangers, 
whose main object was a visit to the Shrine ; and the re- 
mains still observable in the houses, which for more than 
two centuries have been occupied by the families of the 
present inhabitants,3 amply justify the tradition. It was 
a venerable tenement, entirely composed, like houses in 
Switzerland, of massive timber, chiefly oak and chestnut. 
An open oblong court received the pilgrims as they rode in. 
In the upper stor}^, approached by stairs from the outside, 
which have now disappeared, is a spacious chamber, sup- 
ported on wooden pillars, and covered by a high pitched 
wooden roof — traditionally kno^vn as " the Dormitory of the 
Hundred Beds." Here the mass of the pilgrims slept ; and 
many must have been the prayers, the tales, the jests, with 
which those old timbers have rung, — many and deep the 
slumbers which must have refreshed the wearied travellers 
who by horse and foot had at last reached the sacred city. — 
Great, too, must have been the interest with which they 
walked out of this crowded dormitory at break of day on 
the flat leads which may be still seen running round the 
roof of the court ; and commanding a full view of the vast 
extent of the southern side of the Cathedral. With the 

* "At Chekcrs of the Hope that Crown Inn. But it may be questioned 

every man doth know." — Suppl. Tale^ whether the " Cheker " is not the inn 

14. [diversoriutn) mentioned in connection 

' Wharton's Anglia Sacra, L 143. with the Cheker or icaccarium (count- 

" Unumhospitium faiiiosum vocatura ' Le ing-house) in the Precincts adjoining 

Cheker' cum alias divcrsis manslonibus, the present Library (Willis's Conventual 

nobiliter ndijicavit ." — Does this mean Buildings of Christ Church, loa). 

"repaired" or "built"? If the latter, ■ To the obliging attention of the 

the reception of Chaucer's " pilgrims in present occupants I owe the ioforinatioQ 

the Chequers," is an anachronism of the here given, 
bupplemeatary Tale. He also built the 

II 2 

214 The Convents^ 

Cathedral itself a communication is said to exist by means 
of a subterraneous gallery, of which the course can be in 
part traced under the houses on the western side of Mercery 

Besides the inns, were many other receptacles for the 
pilgrinis, both high and low. Kings and great persons often 
lodged in St Augustine's abbey. Over the gate of the abbey 
a sculptured figure represents a pilgrim resting with a wallet on 
his back. Many would find shelter in the various hospitals or 
convents, of St. John, St. Gregory, St La^\Tence, and St T^Iar- 
garet ; of the Gray, of the Black, and of the Austen Friars. 
The Hospital of Eastbridge both traced its foundation to 
St Thomas, whose name it bore, and also was intended for 
the reception of pilgrims ; ^ twelve of whom were, espe- 
cially if sick, to be provided with beds and attendance. 
.A.bove all, the Priory attached to the Cathedral would feci 
bound to provide for the reception of guests on whose con- 
tributions and support its fame and wealth so greatly de- 
pended. It is by bearing this in mind that we are enabled 
to understand how so large a part of conventual buildings 
was always set aside for strangers. Thus, for example, by 
far the greater portion of the gigantic monastery of the 
Grande Chartreuse was intended to be occupied by guests. 
The names of "Aula Burgundlce — Aula Francicc — Aula 
Aquitaniae," still mark the assignment of the vast halls to the 
numerous pilgrims from all parts of feudal, and, at that time, 
still divided France, who, swarming from the long galleries 
opening into their private chambers, were there to be enter- 
tained in common. So on a lesser scale at Canterbur>' : the 
long edifice of old grey stone, long apportioned as the resi- 
dence of "the eleventh canon," overlooking "the Oaks," 
then thiC garden of the convent, was the receptacle for the 
greater guests ; * that at the south-west corner of tlie " Green- 
court," for the ordinary guests, who were brought through 
the gate of the court, thence under the old wooden cloister, 

* Dugdale, toI I, pt, a, p. 91. • Somner, Appendix, p. 13, No. xtIl. 

Efiiiance into tJie Cathedral, 215 

which still in part remains ; and then lodged in the Stran- 
gers' Hall, with a steward appointed to look after all theii 

In the city many preparations were made for tlie chief 
Festival of St Thomas. A notice was placed on a post in 
the " King Street," opposite the " Court Hall," ordering the 
pro\'ision of lodging for pilgrims. Expensive pageants were 
got up, in which " The IvIart}Tdom " was enacted, on the 
eve of the festival.' Accounts are still preserved of pay- 
ments for *'St. Thomas' garment," and the "knights' armour," 
and gunpowder for fireworks, and ** staves and banners," 
to be caiTied out before the "morris pykes" and the 
gunners. 3 

From these various receptacles the pilgrims w^ould 
stream into the Precincts. The outside aspect of the Cathe- 
dral can be imagined without much difficulty. A wide 
cemetery, which, with its numerous gravestones, such as that 
on the south side of Peterborough Cathedral, occupied the 
vacant space still called the Churchyard, divided from the 
garden beyond by the old Norman arch since removed to a 
more convenient spot. In the cemetery were interred such 
pilgrims as died during their stay in Canterbury. The ex- 
ternal aspect of the Cathedral itself, with the exception of 
the numerous statues which then filled its now vacant niches, 
must have been much what it is now. Not so its interior. 
Bright colours on the roof, on the windows, on the monu- 
ments ; hangings suspended from the rods which may still 
be seen running from pillar to pillar ; chapels, and altars, 
and chantries intercepting the view, where now all is clear, 
must have rendered it so different, that at first we should 
hardly recognise it to be the same building. 

At the church door the miscellaneous company of pil- 

* Somner, p. 93. t^e Eve of St, Thomas, at the ancient 

• Archceol., xxxi. 207-209. Such pLiys ChapKrl of St. William, the ratron Saint 
were prol»bIy general on this Festival. of Norwich, on Mousehold Heath. 

1 .here is in the archives of Norwich Ca- ■ Hasted, iv. 573. 

thc<Iral a record of their performance on 

2i6 The Nave, 

grlms had to arrange themselves *^ every one after his 

degree " — 

*' The courtesy gan to rise 
Till the knight of gentleness that knew right well the guise, 
Put forth the prelate, the parson, and his fere." * 

Here they encountered a monk, who, with the " sprengel," 
sprinkled all their heads with holy water. After this, 

*' The knight went with his compeers round the holy shrine. 
To do that they were come for, and after for to dine." 

The rest are described as waiting for a short time be- 
hind, the friar tr}ang to get the "sprcngel" as a device to sec 
the nun's face ; whilst the others, the " pardoner, and the 
miller, and other lewd sots," amused themselves with gaping 
at the fine painted windows, of which the remnants in the 
choir are still a chief ornament of the Cathedral, but which 
then filled the nave also. Their great difficulty was — not 
unnaturally — to make out the subjects of the pictures. 

** * lie beareth a ball-staff,' quoth the one, ' and also a rake's end;' 
* Thou failest,' quoth the miller, * thou hast not well thy mind ; 
It is a spear, if thou canst see, with a prick set before, 
To push adown his enemy, and through the shoulder bore' " 

" Peace," quoth the host of Southwark (breaking in upon 
this idle talk) — 

" Ixt stand the window glazed; 
Go up and do your offerings, ye seemeth half amazed.' "• 

At last, therefore, they fall into the tide of pilgrims, and 
we have now to follow them through the Church. There 
were two courses adopted ; sometimes they paid their devo- 
tions at the Shrine first, and at the lesser objects aftenvards ; 
sometimes at the Shrine last. The latter course will be most 
convenient to pursue for ourselves.3 

» Supp. Tale, 134. • The following account (s tal'cn 

* Supp. Tale, X50. chiefly from Erasmus' Pili^rimage witk 

The Martyrdom* 217 

The first object was the Transept of the Martyrdom. 
To this they were usually taken through the dark passage 
under the steps leading to the choir. It was greatly altered 
since the time of the murder : the column by which Becket 
had taken his stand had been removed to clear the view of 
the wooden altar erected to mark the spot where he fell ; 
the steps up which he was ascending were removed, and a 
wall, part of which still remains,' was drawn across the 
transept to facilitate the arrangements of the entrance of 
great crowds. The Lady Chapel, which had then stood in 
the nave, had now taken the place of the chapels of St. 
Benedict and St. Blaise, which were accommodated to their 
new destination. The site, however, of the older Lady 
Chapel in the nave was still marked by a stone column. 
On this column — such was the story told to foreign pilgrims 
— had formerly stood a statue of the Virgin, which had often 
conversed with St. Thomas as he prayed before it The 
statue itself was now shown in the choir, covered with pearls 
and precious stones.' An inscription 3 over the door, still 
legible in the 17th century, rudely indicated the history of 
the whole scene, 

** Est sacer intra locus venerabilis atque beatus 
Prsesul ubi Sanctus Thomas est martyrisatus." 

Those who visited the spot in the close of the 15th cen- 
tury, might have seen the elaborate representation of the 
" Martyr " in the stained glass of the transept window. All 
that now remains is the long central band, giving the figures 
of the donors, King Edward IV. and his Queen, the prin- 
cesses his daughters, and the two unhappy children that 
perished in the Tower. 

Before the wooden altar the pilgrims knelt, and its 

tuch occasional Illustrations as are fur- On the whole It seems more likely thai 

eislied from oth-ir sources. the Lady Chapel in the nave is meanl 

' The rest was removed in 1734. than tl.ui iu the crypt But this is doubt 

Ha-itrd, iv. 520. fill. 

* Leo voa Rotzmital, Note B., p. 154. ' Somner, 91. 

2iS The CrypU 

guardian priest exhibited to them the various relics confided 
to his especial charge. But the one which surpassed all 
others was the rusty fragment of Le Bret's sword, which was 
presented to each in turn to be kissed. The foreign pil- 
grims, by a natural mistake, inferred from the sight of the 
sword, that the mart3T had suffered death by beheading.* 
They were next led down the steps on the right to the crypt, 
where a new set of guardians received them. On great 
occasions the gloom of the old Norman aisles was broken 
by the long array of lamps suspended from the rings still 
seen in the roof, each surrounded by its crown of thorns. 
Here were exhibited some of the actual relics of St. Thomas 
— part of his skull, cased in silver, and also presented to be 
kissed ; and hanging aloft the celebrated shirt ^ and drawers 
of hair-cloth, which had struck such awe into the hearts of 
the monks on the night of his death. 3 This was all that ordi- 
nary pilgrims were allov.'ed to see ; but, if they were persons 
of rank, or came with high recommendations, they were 
aftenvards permitted to return, and the Prior himself with 
lights exhibited the wonders of the Chapel of Our Lady 
Undercroft, carefully barred with iron gates, but witlxin 
glittering with treasures beyond any other like shrine in 
England. Some portion of the stars of bright enamel may 
still be seen on the roof. 

Emerging from the cr>'pt the pilgrims mounted the steps 
to the choir, on the north side of which the great mass of 
general relics were exhibited. Most of them were in ivory, 
gilt, or silver coffers. The bare list of these occupies eigl:t 
folio pages, and comprises upwards of four hundred items ; < 

> See Leo von Rotimital. Note B. gometime* known, TJwtnat Acrensis. 

■ So it wrxs seen by Erasmus. (See See Nichols, pp. 47, 120. 

Nichols, p. 47.) In 1465 it seems to have • See "Murder of Bccket," pp. 99, 

been suspended (much as the Black 100. 

Prince's coal) over the lid of the Shrine. * As given in an Inventory of 1315. 

Leo von Rotimital, p. 154, Note B. A See Nichols' Erasmus, pp. 124, 155; 

fragment apparently of the original tnmb Dart's Antiquities of Canterbury, Api cn- 

was here shown, namely, a slip of le.-\d dix, pp. iv.-XYiii. 
Inscribed with the title by which he was 


\ToJacc f>. 218. 


Sf, Aftdrezvs Toii'cr, 219 

some of these always, but especially the arm of St. George,' 
were offered to be kissed. 

** The holy relics each man with his mouth 
Kissed, as a goodly monk the names told and tau^Tit." 

Those who were curious in the gorgeous altar-cloths, vest- 
ments, and sacred vessels, were also here indulged with a 
sight of these treasures in the grated vault beneath the altar. 

Leaving the choir, they were brought to the sacristy in 
the northern aisle, in St Andrew's Tower. Here again the 
ordinary class of pilgrims was excluded ; but to the privileged 
were showTi, besides the vast array of silk vestments and 
golden candlesticks, what were far more valuable in their 
eyes, — the rude pastoral staff of pearwood, with its crook of 
black horn, the rough cloak and the bloody handkerchief of 
the " Mart}T " himself There was too a chest cased with 
black leather, and opened with the utmost reverence on 
bended knees, containing scraps and rags of linen, with 
which (the stoiy must be told throughout) the Saint wiped 
his forehead and blew his nose.* 

And now they have reached the holiest place. Behind 
the altar, as has been already observed, was erected the 
Slirine itself What seems to have impressed every pilgrim 
who has left the record of his visit, as absolutely peculiar to 
Canterbury, was the long succession of ascents, by which 
"church seemed," as they said, "to be piled on church," 
and "a new temple entered as soon as the first was ended." 3 
This unrivalled elevation of the sanctuary of Canterbury was 
partly necessitated by the position of the original crypt, 
partly by the desire to construct the Shrine immediately 

* The name Is not given by Erasmus tiglum servantla. His, ut aiebant, v5r 

(P- 4')f but the prominence given in Leo's plus extergcbat sudorem h facie, sive 

account to the right arm of " oi:r dear collo, pitiiitam k naribus, aut si quid 

Lord, the Knight St. George" (Note essct, similium sordium quibus non va- 

B.), seems to fix it. cent humana corpuscula." 

■ Nichob' Erasmus, 49, 57, 15^;. I * Note B., and Nichols* Erasmus, p. 

quote the original words : — " Fra^n '.la 50. 
linteorum Ucera plerumque mucct vcs- 

220 Trinity Chapel, 

above the place of the Saint's original grave, that place itself 
being beautified by the noble structure which now encloses 
it Up these steps the Pilgrims mounted, many of them 
probably on their knees, and the long and deep indentations 
in the surface of the stones even now bear witness to the 
devotion and the number of those who once ascended to 
the sacred platform of the eastern chapel. The popular 
hymn to St. Thomas, if it was not suggested, must at least 
have been rendered doubly impressive, by this continual 
ascent ; — ; 

Tu, per Thomx sanguincm 

Quem pro te impend it, 

Fac nos Clnisto scandere 

Quo Thomas ascmdit. 
Gloria et honore coronasti eum Domine 
Et constituisti eum supra opera manuum tuanim 
Ut ejus meritis et precibus a Gehennae inccndiis liberemur.' 

Near these steps, not improbably,* they received exhorta- 
tions from one or more of the monks as they approached 
the sacred place. 

Trinity Chapel in the thirteenth century, immediately 
after the erection of the Shrine, must have presented a very 
different aspect from that which it wore a few generations later. 
The Shrine then stood entirely alone ; no other mortal re- 
mains had yet intruded into the sacred solitude. Gradually 
this rule was broken through, and the pilgiim of the fifteenth 
century must have beheld the Shrine, flanked on the right 
hand and the left, by the tombs of the Black Prince and of 
Henry IV., then blazing with gold and scarlet Why Arch- 
bishop Courtenay was brought into so august a company, is 
not clear ; it was against his owti wish, and is said to have 
been at the express command of King Richard II., who was 

1 Wharton, AngUa S.icra, I. p. iit.'' Near the same place in Canterbury 

■ Such seems the most probable ex- Cathedral in later time< wras erected th« 

planation of the stone desk in the corre- dcik for the Bible and Fox's Martyri. 

spouding; position in Gloucester Cathedral. 

TJie Crow7i — the Slwine, 221 

at Canterbury at the time.' These, however, were the only 

The Pilgrims were first led beyond the Shrine to the 
easternmost apse, where was preserved a golden likeness of 
the head of the Saint,* richly studded with jewels. This 
either contained, or had contained, the scalp or crown of 
the Saint, severed by Le Bret's sword, and this probably was 
the altar often mentioned in offerings as " the Altar of the 
Head," 3 which gave its name to the eastern apse, called 
from this, " Becket's Crown." 

We now arrive at the Shrine. Although not a trace of 
it remains, yet its position is ascertainable beyond a doubt, 
and it is easy from analogy and description to imagine its 
appearance. Two rude representations of it still exist ; one 
in a MS. drawing in the British Museum, the other in an 
ancient stained window in Canterbury Cathedral.'* We are 
also assisted by the accurate descriptions which have been 
preserved of the Shrine of St. Cuthbert of Durham,s and by 
the only actual ^ Shrme now remaining in England — that of 
Edward the Confessor, in Westminster Abbey. The space 
which it covered may still be traced by the large purple 

1 See "Edward the Black Prince," * A fac-simile of the drawing In the 

p. 151. Cottonian MS. 'is annexed, with an cxpla- 

* See Nichols, pp. 115, 116, 118. natorynote. An engraving and explana- 
There is a confusion about the position tion of the representation in the Canter- 
of this relic, but, on the whole, there can bury window will be found in Note I. 
be Uttle doubt that it must at times have * See Willis's Cant. Cath., p. 100. 
been exhibited in this place. When the • In Chester Cathedral part of the 
Shrine was opened, so much of the skull Shrine of St. Wcrburga remains, con- 
was found with the rest of the bones, verted into the episcopal throne. In 
that a doubt naturally arose whether the Hereford Cathedral, the Shrine of St. 
large separate portion of the skull shown Ethclbert remains, but is a mere tomb. 
elsewhere was not an imposture. See In foreign churches, the Shrines of the 
Declaration of Faith, 1539 ; Nichols, p. Three Kings at Cologne, of St. Ferdi- 
236, and the Notes C and F. nand at Seville, and of St. Remigius at 

• The origin of the name of " Becket's Rheiins, are perhaps the nearest like- 
Crown " is doubtful. Professor Willis nesses. For the Shrine of Edward the 
(Hist, of Cant. Cath., p. 56) reg.ards it as Confessor I may refer to my " Historical 
an architectural term- Mr. Way (see Mcmorialsof Westminster Abbey," c. iiL 
note F) regards it as derived from the To this instance must now be added the 
scalp. The question is one which admits Shrine of St. Alban, so ingeniously di*- 
of much antiquarian argument covered and restored in 1872. 

222 The Shrine, 

stones wliich surround the vacant square. Above its cas*cm 
extremity was fixed in the roof a gilded crescent, still 
remaining. It has been conjectured, with some reason, tliat 
it may have been brought by some crusading pilgrim from 
the dome of an Oriental mosque, and that round it a group 
of Turkish flags and horsetails hung from the roof over the 
Shrine beneath — like the banners of St. George's Chapel, 
Windsor.' At its western extremit}', separating it from t]:e 
Patriarchal Chair, which stood where the Communion Table 
is now placed, extended the broad pavement of Mosaic, 
with its border of circular stones, ornamented with fantastic 
devices, chiefly of the signs of the Zodiac, similar to 
which surrounds the contemporary tombs of Edward the 
Confessor and Henry III. at Westminster. Immediately in 
front of this Mosaic was placed "the Altar of St, Thomas" 
at the head of the Shrine, and before this the pilgrims knelt, 
where the long furrow in the purple pavement still marks 
the exact limit to which they advanced. Before them rose 
the Shrine, secure with its strong iron rails, of which the 
stains and perhaps the fixings can still be traced in the 
broken pavement around. For those who were allowed to 
approach still closer, there were iron gates which opened. 
The lower part of the Shrine was of stone, supported on 
arches ; and between these arches the sick and lame pilgrims 
were allowed to ensconce themselves, rubbing their rheumatic 
backs or diseased legs and arms against the marble which 
brought them into the nearest contact with the wonder- 
working body within. The Shrine, properly so called, rested 
on these arches, and was at first invisible. It was concealed 
by a wooden canopy, probably painted outside with sacred 
pictures, suspended from the roof; at a given signal' this 

* See the grounds for this explana- Providence with two cresc«ris. 

tion in Note G. In the Rliisciim at • This is expressly sUled with rcpnrd 

Munich is a white silk mitre of the 12th to St. Culhbcrt's Shrine. Willis's Cm- 

ccntur^', embroidered on one side with the terbury Cathedral, p. 100; R.iinc'i 

martyrdom of St. Stephen, on the other Account of Dux ham Cathedral, f p» 

with that of St.; over St. Stcplicn 52-55. 
are stars, over St Thomas a hand of 

The Shrine. 223 

canopy was d^a^\^l up by ropes, and the Shrine then appeared 
blazing with gold and jewels ; the wooden sides were plated 
with gold and damasked with gold wire ; cramped together 
on this gold ground were innumerable jewels, pearls, 
sapphires, balassas, diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, and 
also, " in the midst of the gold," rings, or cameos, of sculp- 
tured agates, cornelians, and onyx stones.^ 

As soon as this magnificent sight was disclosed, every 
one dropped on his knees, and probably the tinkling of the 
silver bells attached to the canopy would indicate the 
moment to all the hundreds of pilgrims in whatever part of 
the Cathedral they might be.* The body of the Saint in the 
inner iron chest was not to be seen except by mounting a 
ladder, which would be but rarely allowed. But whilst the 
votaries knelt around, the Prior, or some other great officer 
of the monastery, came fonvard, and with a white v/and 
touched the several jewels, naming the giver of each, and 
for the benefit of foreigners, adding the French name of 
each, Tvith a description of its value and mar\'ellous qualities. 
A complete list of them 3 has been preserved to us, curious, 
but devoid of general interest. There was one, however, 
which far outshone the rest, and indeed was supposed to be 
the finest in Europe.* It was the great carbuncle, ruby, or 
diamond, said to be as large as a hen's ^gg^ or a thumb-nail, 
and commonly called " The Regale of France." The atten- 
tion of the spectators was rivetted by the figure of an angel 
pointing to it It had been given to the original tomb in the 

1 This account is taken from Stow's • The list of jewels (from the Inven- 

Chronicle, 1538, and the Cotton MS. tory of 1315) is given in Nichols' Erasmus 

derxription of the Shrine. Both are p. 169. Diceto says, " Ne sit qui non 

given in Nichols' Erasmus, pp. i66, 167. credat, desit qui scriliot." 

Also *' A Rcialion of England under * The account of the exhibition of the 

Henry VII." by a Venetian (Camden Shrine is taken from Erasmus (see 

Society). Nichols, p. 55), Stow, and the Cotton 

' Compare Raine's "Durham," p. MS. See Nichols, pp. 166, 167; and 

54. At St. Cuthbcrt's Shrine were "fine the Bohemian Travellers, who pive the 

sounding silver bells attached to the ropes, story of the Regale of France (see Note 

which, at the drawing up of the ropes, B.), and the Venetian's Relation oi 

made such a goodly sound, that it stirred England under Henry VII. 
all the people's hearts in the church." 

224 ^^^^ Regale of France. 

crypt by Louis VII. of France, when here on his pilgrimage. 
There were two legends current about it One was tliat the 
King had refused it to St. Tliomas when alive.* The other 
was told to the pilgrims of the 15th century. "The King," 
so ran the story, " had come thither to discharge a vow made 
in battle, and knelt at the Shrine with the stone set in a ring 
on his finger. The Archbishop, who was present, entreated 
him to present it to the Saint. So costly a gift was too 
much for the royal pilgrim, especially as it ensured him good 
luck in all his enterprises. Still, as a compensation, he 
offered 100,000 florins for the better adornment of the 
Shrine. The primate was fully satisfied ; but scarcely had 
the refusal been uttered when the stone leapt from the ring, 
and fastened itself to the Shrine, as if a goldsmith had fixed 
it * there." The miracle of course convinced the king, who 
left the jewel, with the 100,000 florins as well; and it re- 
mained, the wonder of the church, so costly, that it would 
suffice for the ransom of a king of England, almost of Eng- 
land itself; so bright that it was impossible to look at it 
distinctly, and at night burning like fire, but even on a 
cloudy evening, *'You saw it as if it were in your hand." 
The lid once more descended on the golden ark ; the 


** telling heartily their beads, 
Prayed to St. Thomas in such wise as they could," • 

and then withdrew, down the opposite flight of steps from 
that which they had ascended. Those who saw the long 
files of pilgrims at Treves, at the time of the exhibition of 
the "Holy Coat," in 1844, can best form a notion of this 
part of the scene at Canterbury. There, as at Canterburj-, 
the long line of pilgrims ascended and descended the flights 
of steps which led to the space behind the high altar, mutter- 
ing their prayers, and dropping their offerings into the reccjv 
tacles which stood ready to receive them at the foot of either 

* Andreas Morctanensls (Bouquet's Collection, xil. 423). 

• Sec Note B. • Supp. Talc. 168. 

The Well and the Pilgrims' Signs, 225 

Where these offerings were made at Canterbury we are 
not told, but probably at each of the three great places of 
devotion — the "Point of the Sword," "the Head," or 
" Cro^vn," and " the Shrine." Ordinary pilgrims presented 
" Silver brooches and rings," Kings and princes gave jewels 
or money, magnificent drapery, spices, tapers, cups, and 
statues of themselves in gold or silver.* 

And now the hour arrived for departure. The hour of 
"the dinner," which had been carefully prepared by the 
host of Southwark, now approaching — 

** They drew to dinner-ward as it drew to noon." ' 

But, before they finally left the Precincts, one part of their 
task still remained, namely, to carry off memorials of the 
visit Of these, the most important was furnished v/ithin 
the monastery itself. The story of the water mixed with the 
mart}T's blood 3 has been already mentioned, and the small 
leaden bottles or " ampulles " in which this was distributed 
were the regular marks of Canterbury pilgrims. A step 
deeply worn away appears in the south aisle of the Trinity 
Chapel. It has been suggested that this was the spot 
where the pilgrims knelt to receive the blood. To later 
generations the wonder was increased by showing a well In 
the Precincts, into which, as the story ran, the dust and blood 
from the pavement had been thrown immediately after the 
murder, and called forth an abundant spring where before 
there had been but a scanty stream ; and this spring turned, 
it was said, both at the time and since, four times into blood 
and once into milk. With this water miracles were supposed 
to be wTought ; and, from the beginning of the fourteenth to 
the close of the fifteenth century, it was one of the greatest 
marvels of the place.* Absurd as the story was, it is worth 

• See Nichols' Erasmus, pp. io8, i6o. of Edward IV. ; and by William Thomas, 

• Supp. Tale, 190. in the lime of Henry VIII. (See Notes 

• See "Murder of nccket," p. 98. A, IJ, and C.) It is unknown to Gcrvase 
' The story of the well is Riven in the and the earlier chroniclers. The well 

Polistoire, of the time of Edwjird II. j was probably that which is in the old 
bjr the Bohemian Travellers^ in the time plans of the monastery marked I'Mieus, 

226 ^'^^^ Pilgrims Signs, 

recording as being cne cf which the comparatively late orig-'n 
can be traced by us, though wholly unsuspected by tlie 
pilgrims, and perhaps by the monks who profited by its 
wonders ; and thus an instance, even to the most credulous, 
of the manner in which such stories gradually grow up round 
consecrated spots. But besides these leaden bottles, tlie 
pilgrims usually procured more common reminiscences on 
their way back to the inn. Mercery Lane, the narrow street 
which leads from the Cathedral to the " Chequers," in all 
probability takes its name from its having been the chief 
resort of the shops and stalls where objects of ornament or 
devotion were clamorously offered for sale to the hundreds 
who flocked by, eager to carry away some memorial of their 
visit to Canterbury. At that time the street was lined ' on 
each side with arcades, like the " Rows " at Chester, under- 
neath which the pilgrims could walk, and turn into the stalls 
on either side. Such a collection of booths — such a clamour 
of vendors — is the first sight and sound that meets every 
traveller who visits Loretto or Einsiedlen. The objects, as 
in these modem, so in those ancient resorts of pilgrimage, 
were doubtless mostly of that flimsy and trivial character 
so expressively designated by a word derived from a place 
of this very kind, tawdry^ that is, like the lace or chains of 
silk called ** Etheldred's Chains," » sold at the fair of 3 Sf. 
yl7cuf,ry, or Ethddrcda^ the patron saint of the Isle of Ely. 
But what they chiefly looked for were " signs," to indicate 
where they had bccru 

Immediately on the north side of the dug by AM-uI-Motallib. (Spren£cr'» 

choir, of which all traces have now dis- Mahomet, pp. 31, 54.) 

appeared. Two remarkable instances of * Hasted, iv. 428. 

iiiiiaculous springs may be mentioned, of * Porter, " Flowers of the Saints :" 

%slacn, as in this case, ih: later story can Harpsfield, vii. 94, quoted by Fuller, 

be traced. One is that in the Mamertine book ii. S no. 

Prison, said to have been called forth for * So Tooley for St. Clave, Tri<ticl 

the baptism of St. Peter's gaoler; though f'^r St. Rule, Tanton for St. Antony, 

really existing there in the days of Tluuntn {or St Eunen, or Adamnan 

the Roman Republic. The otlicr is (I'vCcvci's Adamnan, 856), Tiih for St 

the Zcm/em at Mccra, commonly be- Eih, Stoosry for St. Osylh, Ickiey for 

lievcd tj have been the we'! of Ibhm.ncl, St Echcl, Tot-rey for St. Oragh, Toll 

illhoujjh it U kaowa to liuvc been really for Aldalc (see CAley's Life, L 27 j). 

The Dinner. 227 

** As manner and custom is, signs there they bought, 
For men of contre to know whom they had sought, 
Each man set his silver in such thing as they liked." * 

These signs they fastened on their caps or hats, or hung 
from their necks, and thus were henceforth distinguished. 
As the pilgrims from Compostella brought home the scallop- 
shells, which still he on the sea shores of Gallicia — as the 
*' palmers " from Palestine brought the palm-branches still 
given at the Easter pilgrimage, in the tin-cases which, slung 
behind the mules or horses, glitter in long succession through 
the cavalcade as it returns from Jerusalem to Jaffa — as the 
roamers from Rome brought models of St. Peter's keys, or 
a " vernicle," that is, a pattern of Veronica's handkerchief, 
sewed on their caps — so the Canterbury pilgrim had his hat 
thick set with a " hundred ampuUes," or with leaden brooches 
representing the mitred head of the saint, with the inscrip- 
tion " Caput Thomce!' ^ Llany of these are said to have 
been found in the beds of the Stour and the Thames, 
dropped as the vast concourse departed from Canterbury or 
reached London. 

At last, after all these sights and purchases, came the 
dinner, " at noon." 

** Every man in his degree took his scat. 
As they were wont to do at supper and at meat." • 

The remains of the vast cellars under the Chequers Inn 
still bear witness to the amount of good cheer which could 
be provided. 

After the repast, they all dispersed to see the town. 

** All that had their changes witli them 
They made tiiem fresh and gay," 

* Supp. Tale, 194. Collect. Ant., vol. I. p. 8t ; vol. il. p. 

' Sec Piers Ploughman and Glraldus, 43. Journal of Archacul., vol. i. p. 

«n r,uoted by Nichols, p. 70, who over- 200. Some of the brooches may be se«a 

loolc^ the fact that the "amp'.illa:" were in the Kritisli Museum. 
C.ifltcrbury signs. See C. R Smitli's • Supp. Tale, 230-240, 

223 Tlie Town — the Return, 


"They sorted them together, 
As they were more used travelling by the way." 

The knight — 

*' With his menee went to see the wall 
And the wards of the town, as to a knight befall " — 

the walls of Simon of Sudbury, which still in great part exist 
round the city — 

"Devising attentively the strength all about. 
And pointed to his son both the perill and the dout, 
For shot of arblast and of bow, and eke for shot of gim, 
Unto the wards of the town, and how it might be won.'" 

The monk of the party took his clerical friends to see an 
acquaintance — 

" that all these years three. 
Hath prayed him by his letters that I would him see." ' 

The wife of Bath induced the Prioress to walk into tlie 
garden or " herbary," 

" to see the herbs grow, 
And all the alleys fair and pavid and raylid, and y-makid, 
The savige and the ysope y-frcttcd and y-stakid, 
And other bcddis by and by fresh y-dight. 
For comers to the host, right a sportful sight." • 

Such were the ordinary amusements of the better class of 
Canterbury pilgrims. The rest are described as employing 
themselves in a less creditable manner. 

On the morrow they all start once again for London, 
and the stories on the road are resumed. At Dartford, 
both on going and returning, they laid in a stock of pilgrims' 
signs.* The foreign pilgrims sleep at Rochester, and it is 
curious to note that the recollections of Canterbury have so 
Strong a hold on their minds, that the first object which they 

' Siipp. Tale, 194. » Supp. Tale, 370. tion of such a garden still exists in th« 

' Supp. Talc, 290. This last cxprcs- tenements on the north-west side of Me»- 

eion seems to imply that the Herbary eery Lane. 

wu in the e^nlcn of the inn. A tradi- * Dunkin's History of Dartford. 

Edward L — Isabella — yohn of France, 229 

visit on their arrival in London is the chapel of St. Thomas,^ 
the old chapel built over the place of his birth, and the 
graves of his parents, Gilbert and Matilda. 

Besides the mass of ordinary pilgrims, there were those 
who came from the very highest ranks of life. Probably 
there was no king, from the second to the eighth Henry, 
who did not at some time of his hfe think it a matter of 
duty or of policy to visit the Shrine of St. Thomas. Before 
the period of the Translation, we have already seen the 
visits of Louis VII. of France, and Richard and John of 
England. Afterwards, we have express records of Isabella,^ 
Queen of Edward II., of Edward I., and of John, the cap- 
tive king of France. Edward I., in the close of his reign 
(1299), offered to the Shrine no less a gift than the golden 
crown of Scotland ; ^ and in the same year he celebrated, in 
the Transept of the Martyrdom, his marriage with his second 
wife, Margaret.* John of France was at Canterbury perhaps 
on his arrival, certainly on his return from his capti\dty.^ The 
last acts of his exile were to drop an alms of ten crowns into 
the hands of the nuns of Harbledown, to offer ten nobles at 
the tliree sacred places of the Cathedral, and to carry off, as 
a reminiscence from the Mercery stalls, a knife for the Count 
of Auxerre. A Sunday's ride brought him to Dover ; and 
thence, after a dinner with the Black Prince in Dover Castle, 
he once more embarked for his native country. Henry V., 
on his return from Agincourt, visited both the Cathedral 
and St. Augustine's, and " offered at the Shrine of St. 
Thomas." Emmanuel, the Emperor of the East, paid his 
visit to Canterbury in 1400 ; Sigismund, the Emperor of the 
West, in 141 7. Distinguished members of the great Scottish 
famiUes also came, from far over the Border; and special 

* Sec note B. • See Hasted, iv. 514. It was th« 

• Archa:ologia, xxxvi. 461. She was crown given to Edward by John Balliol, 
four days on the road, and made oficr- and carried off by Balliol on his escape, 
iugs at the tomb, the head, and the When he was recaptured at Dover, tha 
tnvord. Mary, daughter of P'.dward I., cruwn was sent to Canterbury, 
a^cuinpanied her. (Green's Princesses of * Sec Note A. 

England, voL ii.) * See Note £. 

230 Reaction aga'uist Pilgrunagc. 

licenses and safe -conducts were granted to the Bnices, aiid 
to the Abbot of Melrose,^ to enable them to perform their 
journeys securely through those troubled times. The great 
barons of the Cinque Ports, too, came here after every coro- 
nation, to present the canopies of silk and gold which they 
held, and still hold, on such occasions over our kings and 
queens, and which they receive as their perquisites.^ 

We have seen the rise of the Shrine of St Thomas — 
we now come to its decline. From the very beginning of 
its glory, there had been contained within it the seeds of its 
own destruction. V.liatever there may have been of courage 
or nobleness in Becket's life and death, no impartial person 
can now doubt that the ages which followed regarded his 
character and work with a reverence exaggerated beyond all 
reasonable bounds. And whatever feehngs of true religion 
were intenvoven with the devotion of those who came over 
land and sea to worship at his shrine, it is impossible to 
overlook the groundless superstition witli which it was inse- 
parably mingled, or the evil results, social and moral, to which 
the Pilgrimage gave birth. Even in the first beginnings of 
this localisation of religion, there were purer and loftier 
spirits (such as Thomas \ Kempis in Germany)^ who doubted 
of its efficacy ; and in the fourteenth century, when it reached 
its height, a strong reaction against it had already begun in 
the popular feeling of Englishmen. Chaucer's narrative 
leads us to infer, and the complaints of contemporary 
writers, like Piers Plowman and William Thorpe, prove be- 
yond doubt, that the levity, the idleness, the dissoluteness,* 
produced by these promiscuous pilgrimages, provoked that 
sense of just indignation which was one of the most ani- 
mating motives of the Lollards, and was one of the first 
causes which directly prepared the way for tlie Reformation. 

» Ilastrd, iv. 514. /''■r^itna^e really sancii/iet. (Tmitatlo 

• Hasted, iv. 514. Christi, i. «3, 4.) 

"There arc fcNV whom sickness * See the very instructive qnotat uos 

really amends, a^ thirt art Jew wfwiH in N'ichoL' Erasmus, pp. 18-— 18> 

Simon of Sjidbiiry, 231 

Even the treasures of the Cathedral and of St. Augustine 
were not deemed quite secure ; and the Lord Warden of the 
Cinque Ports, in the reign of Richard II., advised that they 
should be moved " for more safety " to Dover Castle ^ — ^just 
as, in the wars of the Palatinate, the Holy Coat of Treves was 
for many years shut up in the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein. 

Nor was it only persons of humble life and narrow minds 
that perceived these evils, and protested against them. In 
the year of the fourth Jubilee, 1370, the pilgrims were crowd- 
ing as usual along the great London road to Canterbury, when 
they were overtaken by Simon of Sudbury, at that time Bishop 
of I^ondon, but afterwards Primate, and well known for his 
munificent donations to the walls and towers of the town of 
Canterbur}'. He was a bold and vigorous prelate ; his spirit 
was stirred within him at the sight of what he deemed a 
mischievous superstition, and he openly told them that the 
plenary indulgence which they hoped to gain by their visit to 
the holy city would be of no avail to them. Such a doctrine 
from such an authority fell like a thunderbolt in the midst 0/ 
the vast multitude. ^lany were struck dumb ; others lifted 
up their voices and cursed him to his face, with the charac- 
teristic prayer that he might meet with a shameful death. 
One especially, a Kentish gentleman — by name, Thomas ot 
Aldon — rode straight up to him, in towering indignation, and 
said : " My Lord Bishop, for this act of yours, stirring the 
people to sedition against St. Thomas, I stake the salvation 
of my soul that you will close your life by a most terrible 
death," to which the vast concourse answered, "Amen, Amen." 
The curse, it was believed, prevailed. The " iwx populil'* so 
the chronicler expressly asserts, turned out to be the " vox 
Dei" *' From the beginning of the world it never has been 
heard that any one ever injured the Cathedral of Canterbury, 
and was not punished by the Lord."^ Eleven years from 
that time, the populace of London not unnaturally imagined 

* Lambard's Kent, p. 293. 
' Blrchington's Annals. Wharton's An^'Iia Sacra, :{. 51. 

232 Simon of Sudbury, [l370. 

that the rights of St Thomas were avenged, when they saw 
the unfortunate Primate dragged out of the Tower, and be- 
headed by the Kentish rebels under Wat Tyler. His head 
was taken to his native place, Sudbury, where it is still pre- 
sen'ed. His body was buried in the tomb, still to be seen 
on the south side of the choir of the Cathedral, where not 
many years ago, when it was accidentally opened, the body 
was seen within, wrapped in cerecloth, the vacant space of 
the head occupied by a leaden ball 

But Sudbury was right, after all, and the end was not far 
ofi Wycliffe had already Hfted up his voice, and the memory 
of St. Thomas of Canterbury was one of the ancient forms 
which began to totter before him. It was said, whether 
truly or not, that in the last week of his life — on the 2 9th of 
October, 1384 — he was going to preach at Lutterworth 
against the great Saint, whose martyrdom was on that day 
commemorated. A stroke of paralysis interrupted, as it was 
believed, the daring words ; but both to those who con- 
demned, and those who applauded his supposed intention, 
it must have appeared ominous of the future. Another cen- 
tury elapsed ; and now, between the years 151 1 and 1513,^ 
we find within the precincts of the Cathedral two illustrious 
strangers, for whose coming, in their different ways, both 
Chaucer and Wycliffe had prepared the way. The one was 
John Colet,^ first scholar of his time in England, Dean of St. 
Paul's Cathedral, and founder of St. Paul's Grammar School. 
The other was the foreigner Erasmus, the patriarch of the 
learning and scholarship of Europe, then just reviving from 
the slumber of a thousand years. They had made the 
journey from London together; they had descended tlie 
well-known hill, and gazed with admiration on the well- 
known view. Long afterwards, in the mind of Erasmus, 
lived the recollection of " the majesty with wliich the Church 

1 The date is fixed by the events ot Erasmus's Colloquy was Colet, sm 
Erasmus's life (see Nichols, p. >'iii). Nichols, pp. ij6, 127. 

* For the proof that " Pallus " in 

1612.] Erasmus and Co let, 2^1 

rises into the sky. so as to strike awe even at a distant ap- 
proach ; the vast towers,^ saluting from far the advancing 
traveller; the sound of the bells, sounding far and wide 
through the surrounding country." They were led the usual 
round of the sights of pilgrims. They speculated on the 
figures of the murderers over the south porch ; they entered 
the nave, then, as now, open to all comers, and were struck 
by its "spacious majesty," then comparatively new from the 
works of Prior Chillenden. The curious eye of Erasmus 
passed heedlessly over the shrine ^ of Archbishop Wittlesey, 
but fixed on the books fastened to the columns, and noted, 
with his caustic humour, that amongst them was a copy of 
the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. They were taken to 
the Chapel of the Martyrdom, and reverently kissed the 
rusty sword, and then, in long succession, as already de- 
scribed, were exhibited to them the wonders of the crypt, 
the choir, the sacristy, and the Shrine. Their acquaintance 
with Warham, the gentle and learned Primate, secured their 
admission even to the less accessible regions of the crypt 
and sacristy. The Prior, who received them at the Shrine, 
was Goldstone, the last great benefactor to the Cathedral, 
who had just built the Christ Church gate, and the central 
tower. ^ Erasmus saw enough to find out not only that he 
was a pious and sensible man, but that he was well acquainted 
with the philosophy — now trembling to its ruin — of Duns 
Scotus and the schoolmen. Even if no record were left, it 
would have been impossible not to inquire and to imagine 
with deep interest what impression was produced by these 
various objects, at this critical moment of their history, on 
two such men as Colet and Erasmus. We are not left to 
conjecture. Every line of the narrative, dry and cautious as 
it is, marks the feelings awakened in their hearts. The 
beauty of the edifice, as we have seen, touched them deeply. 

' lie says " two," probably not string » " Sepulcrum nescio cujus." 
the low N.W. Nonnao tower now de- * Hasted, iv. 556. 

234 Erasmus and Cold. [1512. 

But, when they come to the details of the sight, two trains of 
thought are let loose which carry away every otlier consider- 
ation. First, the vast display of wealth, which in former 
ages would have seemed the natural accompaniment of so 
sacred a spot, awakens in the mind of Erasmus only a sense 
of incongruity and disproportion. He dwells with pleasure 
on the " wooden altar " of the " martyrdom," as " a monu- 
ment of antiquity, rebuking the luxury of this age ; " he 
gladly kisses the *' rough cloak" and "napkm"of Becket, 
as " memorials of the simplicity of ancient times." But the 
splendid stores of the treasury, " before which ^lidas or 
Croesus would have seemed beggars," rouse only the regret 
— the sacrilegious regret, as he confesses, for which he 
begged pardon of the saint before he left the Church — that 
none of these gifts adorned his own homely mansion. His 
friend took, as was his wont, a more serious view of the 
matter ; and, as they were standing before the gilded head 
in Becket's Crown, broke in with the unseasonable sugges- 
tion, that, if St. Thomas had been devoted to the poor in 
his lifetime, and was now unchanged, unless for the better, 
he would far rather prefer that some portion of this vast 
treasure should be expended on the same objects now. 
The verger knit his brows, scowled, pouted, and, but for 
Warham's letter of introduction, would have turned the:n 
out of the church. Erasmus, as usual, took tlie milder side : 
hinted that it was but his friend's playful way, and dropped 
a few coins into the verger's hand for the support of the edi- 
iice. But he was not the less convinced of the substantial 
truth of the good Dean's complaint On the next point, 
there was more difference between them. The natural 
timidity of Erasmus led him to shrink from an open attack 
on so wide-spread a feeUng as the worship of relics. Colet 
had no such scruple, and the objects of reverence which had 
held enthralled the powerful minds of Henry Plantagcnet and 
of Stephen Langton, excited in the devout and earnest mind 
of the theologian of the sixteenth century sentiments only of 

1512.] Scene at Harbledozvn, 235 

disgust and contempt When the long array of bones and 
skulls were produced, he took no pains to disguise his impa- 
tience ; he refused the accustomed kiss due to the arm of 
St George ; and when the kind Prior offered one of the 
filthy rags torn from one of the saint's robes, as a choice 
present, he held it up between his fingers, and laid it down 
with a whistle of contempt, which distracted Erasmus be- 
tween shame for his companion's bad manners and a fear 
for the consequences. But tlie Prior pretended not to see ; 
perhaps such expressions were now not so rare as in the 
days of Sudbury : at any rate, the courtesy of his high office 
p)revailed j and, with a parting cup of wine, he bade them 

There was to be yet one more trial of Erasmus's patience. 
They were to return to London. Two miles from Canter- 
bur}^, they found themselves in a steep descent through a 
steep and narrow lane, with high banks on either side : on 
the left rose an ancient almshouse. We recognise at once 
without a word the old familiar lazar-house of Harbledown, 
so often mentioned in these pages, so picturesque even now 
in its decay, and in spite of the modern alterations, which 
have swept away almost all but the ivy-clad chapel of Lan- 
franc ; the road, still steep, though probably wider than at 
that time ; the rude steps leading from the doorway, under 
the shade of two venerable yews, one a lifeless trunk, the 
other still stretching its dark branches over the porch. 
Down those steps came, according to his wont, an aged 
almsman ; and, as the two horsemen approached, he threw 
his accustomed shower of holy water, and then pressed for- 
ward, holding the upper leather of a shoe, bound in a brass 
rim, with a crystal set in the centre. Colet was the left- 
hand horseman thus confronted. He bore the shower of 
holy water with tolerable equanimity, but when the shoe 
was offered for him to kiss, he sharply asked the old man 
what he wanted. " The shoe of St. Thomas," was the 
answer. Colet's anger broke all bounds. Turning to his 

236 Scene at Harlledown. [1512. 

companion, " \Vhat ! " he said ; " do these asses expect us 
to kiss the shoes of all good men that have ever lived? 
Why, they might as well bring us their spittle or their dung 
to be kissed ! " The kind heart of Erasmus was moved for 
the old almsman ; he dropped into his hand a small coin, 
and the two travellers pursued their journey to the metro- 
polis. Three hundred years have passed, but the natural 
features of the scene remain almost unchanged : even its 
minuter memorials are not wanting. In the old chest of the 
almshouse still remain two relics, which no reader of this 
story can see without interest The one is an ancient maple 
bowl, bound with a brazen rim, which contains a piece of 
rock crystal, so exactly reminding us of that which Erasmus 
describes in the leather of St Thomas's shoe, as to suggest 
the conjecture that when the shoe was lost, the crystal was 
thus preserved The other is a rude box, with a chain to be 
held by the hand, and a sHt for money in the lid, at least as 
old as the sixteenth century. In that box we can hardly 
doubt, the coin of Erasmus was deposited. 

Trivial as these reminiscences may be, they are not 
without importance, when they bring before us an incident 
so deeply illustrative ot the characters and fortunes of the 
two pilgrims who thus passed onwards, soon to part and 
meet no more, but not soon to lose their influence on the 
world in which they li\ ed ; Colet, burning with his honest 
English indignation against a system of which the overthrow, 
though not before his eyes were closed in death, was near 
at hand ; Erasmus, sharing his views, yet naturally chafing 
against the vehemence of Colet, as he afterwards chafed 
against the mightier vehemence of Luther ; shrinking from 
the shock to the feelings of the old almsman of Harbledown, 
as he afterwards shrank from any violent colUsion with the 
ancient churches of Christendom. In the meeting of that 
old man with the two strangers in the lane at Harbledo\vn, 
how completely do we read, in miniature, tlie whole history 
of the coming revolution of Europe. 



1 •' 'm 





{I'o/ace p. 236. 

1612.] Visit of Henry VIIL and diaries V. 237 

Still, however, with that strange unconsciousness of 
coming events, which often precedes the overthrow of the 
greatest of institutions, the tide of pilgrimage and the pomp 
of the Cathedral continued apparently unabated almost to 
the very moment of the final crash. Almost at the very 
time of Erasmus's visit, the offerings at the Shrine still 
averaged between ;£^8oo or ;£"iooo, that is, in our money, 
at least ;£'4ooo, a year.^ Henry VII. had in his will left a 
kneeling likeness of himself, in silver gilt, to be " set before 
St. Thomas of Canterbury, and as nigh to the Shrine of St 
Thomas as may well be." Prior Goldstone who had sho\vn 
Erasmus and Colet the wonders of the Shrine, had erected 
its noble central tower, and the stately entrance to the Pre^ 
cincts. The completion ot Becket's Crown was in contem- 
plation. A faint murmur from a solitary heretic against the 
character of Becket, was, even as late as 1532, enumerated 
amongst the crimes which brought James Bainham to the 
stake. ^ Great anxiety was still expressed for the usual pri- 
vileges and indulgences, on the last Jubilee in 1520 ; it was 
still pleaded at Rome that, since the death of St. Peter, there 
was never a man that did more for the liberties of the 
church than St. Thomas of Canterbury.^ Henry VIII., in 
that same year, had received the Emperor Charles V. at 
Canterbury, immediately before the meeting of the Cloth of 
Gold. They rode together from Dover, on the morning 
of Whitsunday, and entered the city through St. George's 
Gate. Under the same canopy were seen both the youthful 
sovereigns ; Cardinal Wolsey was directly in front ; on the 
right and left were the proud nobles of Spain and England ; 
the streets were lined with clergy, all in full ecclesiastical 
costume. They lighted off their horses at the west door of 
the Cathedral ; Warham was there to receive them ; together 

> Nichols' Erasmus, p. no, quotes his murder, he was rather a devil in hell 
Cardinal Morton's Appeal. There is a than a saint in heaven." (Collier, Part 1 1, 
similar passage often quoted from Som- book i.) 

oer's Canterbury, p. 125. » Appendix to Battely's Canterbury, 

> " He affirmed Archbishop Becket No. 6, xju. 
was a murderer, and If he did not repent 

233 TJie Rcformatiofu [1520. 

they said their devotions — doubtless before the Shrine.^ 
So magnificent a meeting had probably never been assem- 
bled there, nor such an entertainment given, as Warham 
afterwards furnished at his palace, since the days of Langton. 
We would fain ask what the Emperor, fresh from Luther, 
thought of this, — the Hmit of his tour in England ; or how 
Henry did the honours of the Cathedral, of which, but for 
his elder brother's death, he was destined to have been the 
Primate. But the chronicles tell us only of the outward 
show ; regardless of the inevitable doom which, year by year, 
was dra^ving nearer and nearer. 

Events moved on. The queen, who had greeted^ her 
imperial nephew with such warmth at Canterbur)', was 
now divorced. In 1534 the royal supremacy, and separa- 
tion from the see of Rome, was formally declared. The 
visitation of tlie monasteries began in 1535. The lesser 
monasteries were suppressed in 1536. For a short space 
the greater monasteries with their gorgeous shrines and 
rituals still remained erect In the close of 1536 was struck 
the first remote blow at the worship of St Thomas. Royal 
injunctions were issued, abrogating all superfluous holidays 
which fell in term-time, or in the time of harvest : the 
Festival of the Martyrdom on the 29th of December 
escaped ; but the far greater Festival of the Translation of 
the Relics, falling as it did in the season ot han-est, which 
extended from the ist of July to the 29th of December, 
was thus swept away. The vast concourse of pilgrims or 
idlers from the humble classes, who had hitherto crowded 
the Canterbury roads, were now for the first time detained 
in their usual occupations ; those from the higher classes 
were still free to go; but one significant circumstance 
showed what was to be expected from them. 

Ever since the Festival of the Translation had been 

» Battcly ; Somner, Part II., App. No. the festivals of St. Thoma? (July 6), St. 

». : Holinshed, 1520. Lawrence (Aug. 10), and the Holy Cro.>« 

• TTolinshed, 1510. (Sept. 14). "Annak of an Augustine 

• The prohibilioo included especially Mjok," Harlcan MSS., 419^ fol. xaa. 

1537. J Cranmr/s Banquet 239 

established, its [eve, or vigil— that is the 6th of July — had 
been observed as a day of great solemnity. A touching 
proof of the feeling with which it was regarded is preserved 
in the very year preceding that in which its observance was 
prohibited. " I should be sorry," wrote Sir Thomas More, 
on the day before his death — the 5th of July, 1535 — "tliat 
it should be any longer than to-morrow; for it is St 
Thomas's Eve and the Octave of St. Peter, and therefore 
to-morrow beg I to go to God, It were a meet day and 
very convenient for me." ^ By the primates of the English 
Church, this day had been always rigidly kept as a fast : the 
usual festivities in the palace at Canterbury or Lambeth, 
as the case may be, had always been suspended; the 
poor who usually came to the gates to be fed came not ; 
the fragments of meat which the vast retinue of domestics 
gathered from the tables of the spacious hall, were withheld. 
But Archbishop Cranmer determined to carry out the royal 
injunctions thoroughly. In a letter written to Thomas Crom- 
well, from Ford, in the August of this year (1537) — for the 
most part by his secretary — he had with his own hand in- 
serted a strong remonstrance against the inconsistency of 
the royal practice and profession ; — *' But, my lord, if in the 
court you do keep such holidays and fasting-days as be 
abrogated, when shall we persuade the people to cease from 
keeping of them ? for the king's owti house shall be an 
example to all the realm to break his own ordinances." ^ 
He was determined at any rate that " the Archbishop's own 
house " should on this, the most important of all the abro- 
gated days, set a fitting precedent of obedience to the new 
law. On that eve, for the first time for more than three 
hundred years, the table was spread as usual in the palace- 
hall 3 for the officers of his household, with the large hospi- 
taUty then required by custom as almost the first duty of 
the primate. And then the archbishop " ate flesh " on the 
Eve of St Thomas, and *' did sup in his hall with his 

1 Wordsworth's Eccl. Biog., ii. aij. 
* Strypc's Cranmer, Appendix No. six. • Ibid., p. t^ 

240 Trial of Becket. [i63d. 

family," as the monk of St Augustine's Abbey, who rel ires 
the incident, drily observes, " which was never seen before 
in all time." ^ 

In the course of the next year (1538), whilst the Arch- 
bishop was making the " exposition of the Epistle of S. Paul 
to the Hebrews half the Lent in the Chapter-house of the 
monastery," ^ the fatal blow gradually descended. The 
names of many of the saints, whose festivals had been dis- 
continued, remained and still remain in the Enghsh calendar. 
But Becket's memory was open to a more grievous charge 
than that of having given birth to idleness and superstition. 
We must remember that the mind of the king, and, with a 
few exceptions, of the government, of the hierarchy, of the 
nation itself, was possessed with one master idea — that of esta- 
blishing the Supremacy of the Crown over all causes eccle- 
siastical as well as civil, within the dominions of England. 
It has now in practice been interwoven with all our institu- 
tions ; it has in theory been defended and adopted by some 
of our ablest statesmen, divines, and philosophers : however 
liable to be perverted to worldly or tyrannical purposes, there 
is a point of view from which it has been justly regarded as 
the largest and noblest opportunity which outward institutions 
can furnish for the realisation of the kingdom of God upon 
earth. But, be it right or wTong, it was then held in Eng- 
land to be the one great question of the time ; and to this 
doctrine it is not surprising that the story of Becket's career 
should have seemed to contain a direct contradiction. 
Doubtless philosophical historians might have drawn dis- 
tinctions between the times of the second and the eighth 
Henry — might have shown that the tniths and feelings repre- 
sented by the civil and ecclesiastical powers at these two 
epochs were widely different But in that :{gQ of indiscrimi- 
nating partisanship, of half-formed knowledge, of passionate 
impulses, such a view of past events could not be found. 
Even King John, whom we now justly account one of the 

» "Annals of an Augustine Monk," Harlcian MSS., 419^ fol. iia. It is some- 
what inaccurately quoted by Stri-po. i Jbid, 

1538.] Trial of BeckeU . 241 

worst of men, was exalted into a hero, as striving, though in 
vain, to resist the encroachments of the Papacy. The recent 
memory of the two great opponents of the new doctrine. 
More and Fisher, whose virtues every party now acknow- 
ledges, was then set aside with the summary question, 
" Should the King's highness have suffered those traitors to 
live, Thomas More, * the jester,' and Fisher the * glorious 
hypocrite ' ? " ^ It is necessary to enter into these feelings to 
understand in any degree the events which followed. 

On the 24th of April, 1538 (such, at any rate was the 
story reported all over the continent of Europe), a summons 
was addressed in name of King Henry VIII., " to thee, 
Thomas Becket, sometime Archbishop of Canterbury," 
charging him with treason, contumacy, and rebellion. It 
was read within the walls of the Cathedral, by the side of 
the Shrine : thirty days were allowed for his appearance ; 
and when, at the expiration of that period, the canopy, and 
ark, and iron chest remained unmoved, and the dead man 
had not risen to answer for himself, the case was formally 
argued at Westminster by the Attorney-General on the part 
of Henry II., on the part of the accused by an advocate 
granted at the public expense by the King. The arguments 
of the Attorney-General prevailed, and on the loth of 
June sentence was pronounced against the Archbishop, 
that his bones should be publicly burned, to admonish the 
living of their duty by the punishment of the dead ; and 
that the offerings made at the Shrine should be forfeited 
to the Crown.* 

> Declaration of Faith, 1539. (Collier, suggests a doubt whether any of the 

Ecc. Hist., vol. ii. Appendix No. xlvii.) bones, except the head, were burnt 

« The grounds for doubting this story, (see Jenkyns's Cranmer, i. 262) ; (3.) It 

as related by Sanders, PoIIini, and by is not mentioned in any contemporary 

Pope Paul III. (Wilkins's Concilia, ii. English authority, and especially not in 

635), arc given in Nichols' Erasmus, p. the long and close correspondence at the 

133. Froude's History of England, vol. very time, between Cromwell and Prior 

Ei. p. 301. — (i.) The Shrine was not de- Goldwell; {4.) The summons is dated 

itroycd in August, as Pollini states; (a.) "London," whereas official papers are 

I'he Narrative of Thomas (sec note C), never dated from London, but from 

■• well as tlic Declaration of Faith, 1539, Westminster, Whitehall ; (5.] Henry ia 

242 Trial of BeckeU [l538. 

Such, at least, was the belief at Rome, and though the 
story has of late years been doubted, there is nothing in it 
which is of itself incredible. It would, if true, be but one 
instance of tlie strange union of violent self-will with rigid 
adherence to law, which characterises all the Tudor family, 
but especially Henry VIII. It would be but an instance of 
the same scrupulous casuistry, which suggested the fancied 
violation of a Levitical ordinance as an occasion for annull- 
ing his marriage with Catherine ; and which induced him 
to adopt, in the case of his three subsequent wives, none 
but strictly legal remedies. It will be but an insLince of 
the way in which every act of that reign was performed in 
due course of law ; and thus, as if by a Providence working 
good out of evil, all the stages of the Reformation received 
all the sanction which the combined will of the soverei2:n 
and the nation could give them. And it must be remem- 
bered that in this process there was nothing contrary to the 
forms of the Roman Catholic faith, which Henry still pro- 
fessed However absurd to us may seem the citation of a 
dead man from his grave, and the burning his bones to ashes 
because he does not appear, it was the exact copy of what 
nad been before enacted in the case of Wycliffe at Lutter- 
worth ; and of what was shordy aftenvards enacted by 
Queen Mary in the case of Bucer and Fagius at Cambridge. 
But, whatever might be tlie precise mode in which the in- 
tentions of Henry and Cranmer were expressed, a Royal 
Commission was duly issued for their execution. 

One more visit is recorded in this strange interval of 

called " Rex Hrbernl-c" This was In after so many hundred years, a traitor to 

1538; he did not take the title till 1541. the king." 

On the other hand, may be noticed, as 1 This is specially put forward in his 

slight confirmation of the general truth of defence in the Declaration of Faith 

the story — (i.) The langiiage of the Pro- (x.559). "The King's Highness hath 

f:laination of 1538, " Forasmuch as it now never put any man to deatli, but by 

Bppearcth dearly." (a.) The Dcclara- crdin.iry process . . . who can find 

tion of 1539, "By approb-ition it appear- in his heart, knowing this, to think the 

elh clearly." (3.) The life of Sir Thomas same prince that so hath judgmcn* 

More published in Wordsworth's Ecd- ministered by the law, to be atjTant?* 

Biograph}', ii. aa6, " We have made him, (Collier, Ecd. IIL>t., ii., App. No. xUi^ 

1538.] Visit of Madame de MontreuiL 243 

suspense. In August the Shrine was still standing. On the 
last day of that month, 1538, a great French lady passed 
through Canterbury, Madame de Montreuil, who had just 
been attending Mary of Guise to Scotland. She was taken 
to see the wonders of the place, and "marvelled at the 
great riches thereof," and said, " that if she had not seen it, 
all the men in tlie world could never ^a made her to beheve 
it." But it was mere wonder : the ancient spirit of devotion, 
which had compelled respect from Colet and Erasmus, had 
now no place : cushions were set for her to kneel both at 
the *' Shrine" and " Head : " and thrice the Prior, opening 
** SL Thomas' Head, offered her to kiss it, but she neither 
kneeled nor would kiss it, but still viewing the riches thereof. 
, . . . So she departed and went to her lodging to 
dinner, and after the same to entertain her with honest 
pastimes. And about 4 of the clock, the said Prior did 
send her a present of coneys, capons, chickens, with diverse 
fruits — plenty — insomuch that she said * ^^^lat shall we do 
with so many capons ? Let the Lord Prior come, and eat, 
and help us to eat them to-morrow at dinner,* and so 
thanked him heartily for the said present" ^ This was the 
last recorded present that the " Lord Prior" of Canterbury 
gave, and the last recorded pilgrim who saw the Shrine of 
St Thomas. 

In the course of the next month ' the Royal Commission 
for the destruction of shrines, under Dr. Leyton, arrived at 
Canterbury. Unfortunately, every authentic record of the 
final catastrophe has perished : and the precise manner of 
the devastation is involved in obscurity and contradiction. 
Like all the acts of destruction at the Reformation, as dis- 
tinct from those in the civil wars at a later period, it was 
probably carried out in the presence of the Royal Commis- 
sioners with all formality and order. The jewels — so we 
may infer from the analogy of the hke event at Durliam — 

' Sut€ Papers, vol. J. 583, 584. " September, 1538," which agrees with 

* Scow gives the proceedings under, the date of Madame de Montrcuil's vL>it. 

244 Destruction of the Shrine. [i538. 

were first carefully picked oat by a goldsmith in attendance, 
and then the iron chest of the shrine broken open with a 
sledge-hammer.^ The bones within ^ were either scattered 
to the winds, or, if interred, were mingled indiscriminately 
with others; in this respect, sharing a different fate from 
that of most of the disinterred saints, who, after the destruc- 
tion of their shrines, were buried with decency and care near 
Blie places where the shrines had stood. ^ . . . The re- 
puted skull in the golden " Head " was treated as an impos- 
ture, from its being so much larger than the portion that 
was found in the Shrine with the rest of the bones * and was 
burnt to ashes as such. . . . The jewels and gold of 
the Slirine were carried off in two strong coffers, on the 
shoulders of seven or eight men ; ^ for the removal of tlie 
rest of the spoils six and twenty carts are said to have 
waited at the church door.^ . . . The jewels, no doubt, 
went into the royal stores ; the " Regale of France," the 
glory of the Shrine, was long worn by Henry himself in the 
ring ' which after the manner of those times encircled his 
enormous thumb ; the last time ^ that it appears in history 
is among the "diamonds" of the golden "collar" of his 
daughter Queen Mary.* . . . The healing virtues oi the 
well, it was observed, instantly disappeared. Cranmer, on 
the 1 8th of August, had already ^° appUedfor a Royal Com- 

' Sec Raine's Durham, p. 55. 11. 226.) 

« It was a dispute aftenvards, whether ■ See Raine's Durham, p. 56. 

the bones had been burnt or not, the * Declaration of Faith, 1539. 

Roman Catholics maintaining that they • Stow's Annals, 1538. 

had been, the Pratestants vehemently • Sanders in Wilkins' Cone, UL 836. 

denying it, This shows a certain con- ^ Such a ring may be seen on the 

sciousness on the part of the latter that thumb of the centemporary effigy of 

there had been excessive violence used. Archbishop Warham. 

See Declaration of Faith, 1539 (in • Many of the Crown jewels of Eng- 

Nichols' Erasmus, 236; Collier. Appen- land were given away in Spain (so I 

dix No. xlvii.), and William Thomas, am mformed by Mr. Ford) during the 

1566, note C). That they were buried, mission of Prince Charles and the Duke 

not burned, was likely fr»m the unexccp- of Buckingham, 

tionable testimony of the Life of Sir • Nichols' Erasmus, p. 3*4. 

Thomas More, by Ilarpsficid, " We have " Jcnkyns's Crannler, L a6a. See aU« 

of late unshrincd him, and buried his note C> 
holy relics." (Wordsworth, Eccl. Biog., 

1538.] Proclamation, 245 

mission to be issued to his two chaplains, Dr. Lee and Dr. 
Barbour, for the examination of the blood of St. Thomas, 
which he suspected to be red ochre. . . . Finally, a 
proclamation was issued on the i6th of November, setting 
forth the cause and mode of Becket's death, in a statement 
which displays considerable ability, by fixing on those points 
in the ancient narratives which unquestionably reveal the 
violent temper and language of the so-called Martyr.^ " For 
these, and for other great and urgent reasons, long to recite, 
the King's Majesty, by the advice of his council, hath 
thought expedient to declare to his loving subjects, that not- 
withstanding the said canonisation, there appeareth nothing 
in his life and exterior conversation whereby he should be 
called a Saint ; but rather esteemed a rebel and traitor to 
his prince. Therefore his Grace straitly chargeth and com- 
mandeth, that henceforth the said Thomas Becket shall not 
be esteemed, named, reputed nor called a Saint, but ' Bishop 
Becket,' and that his images and pictures throughout the 
whole realm shall be put doAvn and avoided out of all 
churches and chapels, and other places; and that from 
henceforth the days used to be festivals in his name, shall 
not be observed — nor the service, office, antiphonies, collects 
and prayers in his name read, but rased and put out of all 
books." 2 

Most rigidly was this proclamation carried out. Not 
more carefully is the name of Geta erased by his rival bro- 
ther on every monument of the Roman Empire, from Britain 
to Egypt, than that of the contumacious Primate by the 
triumphant king. Every statue and picture of the " Traitor," 

1 " His death which they untruly bosom, and violently shook and plucked 

cancdmartyrdom, happened upon a rescue him, in such a manner as he had almost 

by him made ; and that, as it is written, overthrown him to the pavement of the 

he gave opprobrious names to the gentle- church ; so that upon this fray, one of 

men which then counselled him to leave their company, perceiving the same, 

his stubbornness, and to avoid the com- struck him, and so in the throng Peckct 

motion of the people risen up for tliat was slain." Sec Wilk. Cone., iii. 848. 

rescue. And he not only called one of > Ibid. 
them ' Bawdc/ but also took Tracy by the 

I 2 

246 Proscription of tJ.j Name. 

has been swept away ; from almost everj' illuminated psalter, 
missal, and every copy of historical or legal document, the 
pen or the knife of the eraser has effaced the once honoured 
name and figure of St. Thomas wherever it occurs.^ At 
Canterbury the arms of the city and cathedral were altered. 
Within the church some fragments of painted glass, and the 
defaced picture at the head of Henry IV.'s tomb, are his 
only memorials. Even in the second year of Edward VI. 
the obnoxious name was still hunted down ; and Cranmer, 
in his Articles of Visitation for that year, inquires — 
" Whether tliey have put out of their church books the 
name and service of Thomas Becket?" The site of his 
original tomb in the cr}'pt was, a few months after the fall 
of the Shrine, annexed by an Order in Council to the house 
0/ the first canon of the newly erected Chapter, and was 
retained almost to our own time as his cellar for wine and 
faggots. So completely were the records of the Shrine 
destroyed, that the Cathedral archives throw hardly the 
slightest light, either on its existence or removal^ And its 
site has remained, from that day to this, a vacant space, 
with the marks of the violence of the destruction even yet 
visible on the broken pavement. 

Round it still he the tombs of King, and Prince, and 
Archbishop ; the worn marks on the stones show the rever- 
ence of former ages. But tlie place itself is vacant, and the 
lessons which that vacancy has to teach us must now take 
the place of the lessons of the ancient Shrine. 

There are very few probably at the present time, in 
vhom, as they look round on the desolate pavement, the 
first feehng that arises is not one of disappointment and 
regret, that a monument of past times so costly and curious 
should have been thus entirely obliterated. There is pro- 
bably no one, who, if the Shrine were now standing, would 
dream of removing it. One such tomb, as has been said, 

> See amongst other instances, Capgravc's Chronicle, p. 141, "S. Thomas "U 
eraied ;uid " Kran " substituted. ' See note F. p. 367. 

Destruction of Relics of Antiquity. 247 

still remains in Westminster Abbey : the very notion of 
destroying it would call out a general outcry from all edu- 
cated men thoughout the kingdom. Why is it that this 
feeling, so familiar and so natural to us^ should then have 
been so completely overruled ? The answer to this question 
is doubly instructive. First, it reveals to us one great differ- 
ence between our age and the time, not only of the Refor- 
mation, but of many preceding ages. In our time, there 
has sprung up, to a degree hitherto unprecedented, a love of 
v.'hat is old, of what is beautiful, of what is venerable — a desire 
to cherish the memorials of the past, and to keep before our 
eyes the vestiges of times, which are brought so vividly 
before us in no other way. It is, as it were, God's compen- 
sation to the world for its advancing years. Earlier ages 
care but little for these relics of antiquity; one is swept 
away after another to make room for what is yet to come ; 
precious works of art, precious recollections, are trampled 
under foot ; the very abundance in which they exist seems 
to beget an indifference towards them. But in proportion 
as they become fewer and fewer, the affection for them grows 
stronger and stronger ; and the further we recede from the 
past, the more eager now seems our craving to attach our- 
selves to it by every link that remains. Such a feeling it is, 
which most of us would entertain towards this ancient Shrine 
— such a feeling as, in the mass of men, hardly existed at 
the time of its destruction. In this respect at least we are 
richer than were our fathers ; other gifts they had, wliich 
we have not : this gift of insight into the past, of loving it 
for its own sake, of retaining around us as much as we can 
of its grace and beauty — we have, as they had not. It is 
true that reverence for the dead ought never to stand in the 
way of the living — that when any great evil is avoided, or 
any great good attained, by destroying old recollections, no 
historical or antiquarian tenderness can be pleaded for their 
preservation : but where no such reason exists, let us keep 
them as best we can, and as we stand on the vacant space 

248 Necessity for the Destruction of the Shrine. 

of Becket's Shrine, let us be thankful that we have retained 
what we have, and cherish it accordingly. 

It is impossible, however, to read the signs of the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries without perceiving that the Shrine of 
St. Thomas fell not simply from a love of destruction, or a 
desire of plunder, but before a sense of ovenvhelming neces- 
sity. Had the Reformers been ever so anxious to retain it, 
they would probably have found it impossible to do so. 
However much the rapacity of Henry VHI. may have 
prompted him to appropriate the treasures to himself, and 
however much we may lament the wholesale plunder of a 
fund which might have endowed great public institutions ; 
yet the destruction of the Shrine was justified on general 
reasons, and those reasons commended themselves to the 
common sense and feeling of the nation and the age. The 
mode in which it was destroyed may appear violent ; but it 
was the violence, partly characteristic of a barbarous and 
revolutionary epoch, partly such as always is produced by 
the long growth of some great abuse. A striking proot of 
this fact, which is also itself one of the most surprising parts 
of the whole transaction, is the apathy with which the clergy 
and the people acquiesced in the act of the government 
When a similar destruction was eftected in France, at the 
time of the great Revolution, although the horrors perpe- 
trated were even greater, yet there were loyal hands to save 
some relic at least from the general ruin ; and when the 
Abbey of St. Denis was again opened after the Restoration, 
the ashes of the sovereigns, the fragments of the royal tombs, 
were still presen-ed sufficiently to fill again the vacant spaces. 
Yet of Becket's shrine hardly a shred or particle has ever 
been traced ; the storm had long been gathering, yet it burst 
at last with hardly an effort to avert it, and the desecration was 
executed by officers, and sanctioned by ecclesiastics, who, in 
name at least, still belonged to the ancient faith. At Rome, 
indeed, it was made one of the special grounds of the bull 
of excommunication issued by the Pope in the December of 

Relic- Worship. 249 

that year. But in England hardly a murmur transpires. 
Only one complaint has reached our time : Cranmer wrote 
to Cromwell in the following year, to tell him that a drunken 
man had been heard to say ^ that " it was a pity and naughtily 
done to put dowTi the Pope and St. Thomas." Something of 
this silence may doubtless be ascribed to the reign of terror 
which more or less characterises the administration of justice 
in the time of Henry VIII. But it cannot be so explained 
altOGrether. No Thomas More was found to die for Becket 
as there had been for the Pope's supremacy. And during 
the five years of the restored Roman Catholic Religion in the 
reign of Mary, although an order was issued by Cardinal 
Pole to restore the name of St. Thomas to the missals from 
which it had been erased;^ yet no attempt was made to 
revive the pilgrimage to Canterbury ; and the Queen herself, 
though usually eager for the restitution of the treasures which 
her father had taken from the churches and convents, did 
not scruple, as we have seen, to wear in her necklace the 
choicest jewel of the shrine. The account of Erasmus' visit, 
as already given, is in fact sufficient to show how completely 
the system of relic- worship and of pilgrimage had worked 
its own ruin — how deep was the disgust which it awakened 
in the minds of intelligent men, unwilling though they might 
be to disturb the established forms of religion. By the time 
that the catastrophe was accomplished, Colet had already 
been laid to rest in the choir of St. Paul's ; the tomb had 
already closed over Erasmus in his beloved retirement at 
Basle. But we cannot doubt that could they have lived to 
see the completion of the overthrow which their sagacious 
minds clearly foresaw, as they knelt before the shrine a few 
years before, the one would have received the tidings with 
undisguised exultation, the other with a sigh indeed, yet 
with a full sense of the justice of the act. 

It is therefore a satisfaction, as we look on the broken 
pavement, to feel that, here as elsewhere, no great institu- 

1 Jcnkyns's Cranmer, i. 978. • Strypc's Cranmer, App. No. 81. 

250 Co7iclnsion, 

tion perishes without good craise. Had Stephen Langton 
been asked which was most Ukely to endure — the Magna 
Charta which he won from John, or the Shrine, which, live 
years afterwards, he consecrated in the presence of Henry 
in. — he would, beyond all question, have said, the Shrine of 
St Thomas. But we see what he could not see — we see 
that the Charter has lasted, because it was founded on the 
eternal laws of truth, and justice, and freedom; the Shrine 
has vanished away, because it was founded on the passing 
opinion of the day ; because it rested on ignorance, which 
was gradually dissolving ; because it was entangled with 
exaggerated superstitions, which were condemned by the 
wise and good even of those very times. But the vacant 
space is more than this; it is not only a sign of the violent 
convulsion through which the Reformation was efiected, but 
it is a sign also, if we could so take it, of what the Reforma- 
tion has effected for us, and what duties it has laid upon us. 
If one of the ancient pilgrims were to rise again, and look 
in vain for the object of his long devotion, he would think 
that we were men ^vithout religion.^ So, in like manner, 
when the Gentile conqueror entered the Holy of Hohes and 
looked round, and saw that there was no graven image or 
likeness of anything on earth or in heaven, he man-elled at 
the " vacant sanctuary," ^ as of a worship without a God. 
Yet Pompey in the Temple of Jerusalem, and the ancient 
pilgrim in Canterbury Cathedral, would be alike mistaken. 
It is true that a void has been created — that the Reforma- 

* A curious instance occurs in Bishop who accompanied me (for' hire) observed, 

Doyle's Account of his visit to Canter- that 'ser\-ice was at certain limes pcr- 

bury, in 1828. " I beheld a lofty cloister formed.' I cried out . . . 'Where 

and a mouldering pile . . • which arc the canons and the dignitaries ? 

might bear on its porch the inscription , . . Where is the loud song or the 

. . . to the Unknown God. It is a wide sweet canticle of praise?' S:c., &c. 

and spacious waste, cold and untenanted. (Fit/patrick's "Doyle," ii. 90.) Probably 

It now had no altar, no sacrifice, no priest- Tishop Doyle's visit was p.iid to Cantcr- 

hood." And so easily does his imagina- bury whilst the cathedral was undcr- 

tjon get the better of facts, he pro- going repairs, and the service was neces- 

cecds: "The only symbol of Christianity sarily carried on in the chapter-house, 

not yet extinct wliich I discovered w.-us a '"Vacuam sedem, inania arcana." 

tkit/el in tJu clcister, where the verger (Tacit. Hibt., v. 9.) 

Conclusion, 251 

tion often left, as here in the old sanctuary of the Cathedral, 
so on a wider scale in the hearts of men, a vacancy and a 
coldness which it is useless to deny, though easy to explain, 
and, to a certain point, defend. But this vacancy — this 
natural result of every great convulsion of the human mind 
— is one which is our own fault if we do not fill up, in the 
only way in which it can be filled up ; not by rebuilding 
what the Reformers justly destroyed, nor yet by disparaging 
the better qualities of the old saints and pilgrims, but by a 
higher worship of God, by a more faithful service of man, 
than was then thought possible. In proportion to our thank- 
fulness that ancient superstitions are destroyed, should be 
our anxiety that new light, and increased zeal, and more 
active goodness, should take their place. Our pilgrimage 
cannot be Geoffrey Chancers, but it may be John Bunyan's. 
In that true " Pilgrim's Way " to a better country, we have 
all of us to toil over many a rugged hill, over many a dreary 
plain, by many opposite and devious paths, cheering each 
other by all means, grave and gay, till we see the distant 
towers. In that pilgrimage and progress towards all things 
good and wise, and holy, Canterbury Cathedral, let us 
humbly trust, may still have a part to play : although it is 
no longer the end in the long journey, it may still be a 
stage in our advance ; it may still enlighten, elevate, sanctify, 
those who come within its reach ; it may still, if it be true 
to its high purpose, win for itself, in the generations which 
are to come after us, a glory more humble, but not less 
excellent, that when a hundred thousand worshippers lay 
prostrate before the shrine of its ancient ];cro. 


OF becket;' 


[The following extracts are from a MS. History of Canterbury 
Cathedral, in Norman French, entitled ** Polistoire," in the Harleian 
MSS. in the British Museum. My attention was called to this curious 
document by Mr. Bond, to whom I would herf beg to express my 
thanks for his constant courtesy whenever I have had occasion to 
consult him.] 

THE WELL OF ST. THOMAS. (See p. 225.) 

Harl MS. 636, / 143 b., col. i, 
//«(? 6, ab imd. 
(I.) Si fust la place aprcs tost 
balee, et la poudre coylee de coste 
le eglise gettue en vn lyu dunt 
auaunt nout parlaunce ; mes en 
fest le poer Deu tauntost habun- 
daunt par uirtue tregraciouse de 
queu merite le martyr estoyt a 
lute gent nout tost estre conu. 
Dunt en le lyu auaunt dist ou ne 
gweres en sa ariere moysture ny 
apparust mes euwe hi auoyt tut 
fust ele petite, sa colur naturele 
quant la poudre ressu auoit tost 
ch;\unga, cest a sauoir vne foiz en 
let et quatre foyz la colour de 
saunc reprist E puys en sa na- 
ture demeyne returna. Si comensa 

aboylir de source habundaunte et 
demurt funtayne plent}'uuse. Dunt 
puys plusurs greues de diuers 
maladies graciousement en sunt 

roid.fol. 150, col. I. 
(2.) [AV;;^'- Henry II. after his 
penance'] . . . Puis le matyn 
kaunt le iur cler apparust messe 
requist et la oyst deuoutement et 
puis del ewe Seint Thomas bust a 
la funtaine auaunt nomee, ke de 
saunc et let la colur prist, et puys 
en sa nature retunia, et vne am- 
pulle de cele ewe pleyne cue ly 
prist, cum en signe de pclrj'n, et 
ioyous de Caunterbur departist cd 

Extracts from a MS. History, 


IN 1220. (See p. 19S.) 

Idid. fol, 202 ^., col. 2, /. 15, ab 


Ausi memes eel an la none de 
Jun a Caunterbire fust Seint 
Thomas le martir translate. Le 
an de sun martyrement 1. per 
lerseueske Estephene auaunt nome 
de Canterbire. Coment ceste sol- 
lempnete estoyt feste a tote gent 
uoil estre conu, et me a forceray 
de cele la manere brevement par- 
cunter. Lerseueske Estephene de 
Langetone del hure ke cele dignete 
out ressu, apres ceo ke en Eng- 
letere fust ariue et le couent del 
exil reuenu estoyt, se purpensa 
totes hures conflht les reliques sun 
predecessur Seint Thomas le glori- 
our martyr poeyt honurer par la 
tranfclatiun fere, et la purueaunce 
des choses necessaries largement 
fist, cum ia mustre en fest serra. 
Dunt cum del iur certein ke cele 
translatiun soUempne fere uoloyt, 
an puple parmye la tere out la 
notificatiun fest, tauns des grauns 
hi sunt venuz, et puple cum sauns 
numbre, ke la cite de Caunterbire 
ne la suburbe, ne les menues uiles 
enuiroun, a cele yoingnauntes pro- 
cheynes, le puple taunt uenu ne 
poeyent en lurs mesuns resceyure. 
Le Roy ausi Henry le iij. a la re- 
queste lerseueske de Caunterbire 
uenu hi estoit. Si demora oue 
lerseueske et assemble oue ly tuz 
les grauns ke vcnu; esloyent la 
ueile ct le iur de la translatiun en 

tuz custages. Estre ceo en les en- 
trees ce la cite a chescune porte en 
my la ruel es toneaus de vin en 
foylis fist cocher lerseueske et ces 
mynistres mettre pur largement au 
puple doner en la chalyne sauns 
paer accune moneye. E ausi en 
quatre lyus dediens la cite en les 
quarfoucs en memes la manere fist 
les toneaus mettre pur seruir a la 
mene gent. E defendre fist en les 
iiij. celers de vin ke riens ny fust 
au puple estraunge uendu, si nun 
pleynement a ces custages, et ceo 
par sereuwe de ces gens a ceo 
assignes. Quar nestoyt lors de- 
diens la cite en plus de lyus uin 
troue a uendre. En teu manere 
les choses dehors ordines, lerse- 
ueske Estephene et Gauter le priur 
ansemble oue tut le couent del 
eglise Jhu Crist en la nuyt pro- 
cheyne deuaunt le iur de la transla- 
tiun en due furme de deuociun au 
sepulcre del martyr approcherent. 
E ilukes au comencement en luro 
orisuns se donerent tuz taunt cum 
la brefte de la nuyte le poeyt suf- 
frir. Puys sunt les peres de la 
tumbe sauns blemysement remues 
per les mcyns des moygnes a ceo 
ordines, et se leuerent les autres 
tuz si aprocherent, et eel martyr de 
ioye regardauns ne se poeyent des 
lermes tenir, E puys autrefoyz as 
orisuns se unt dones tuz en coniune 
hors pris accuns des moygnes ke 
de scinte vie especiaumcnt elu fu- 
rent a eel tresor precious hors de 


Extracts from a MS. History, 

sepukrc remucr. Lcs qucus le 
unt leue et en une chace de fust 
honeste a ceo apparcyle le unt 
mys. La qucle de for bien yert 
asscurie si la fermcrent queynte- 
ment par clous de fer, et puyns en 
lyu honeste et priue le porterent 
tannt ke Icndemeyn le iur de la 
translatiun sollempnement a cele 
brer. Puys le matyn en cele mere 
eglise se asscmblcrent lcs prelats 
tuz, ccst a sauoyr, Pandulf auaunt 
nome de la scinte eglise de rome 
Icgat, ct Esteucne erseueske de 
Caunterbire oue lcs autres eueskes 
CCS suiTraijans tuz ucnux hors 

pris troys, des qucus lun mort 
estoyt et les deus par maladie fj- 
rcnt escuses. Ccus en la pre^er.ce 
le Roy Dcngletcre auaunt nome 
Henry le iij. au lyu ou le martyr 
glorious fust dcmore tost alcrent, 
et la chace pristrent deuoutement 
en quer deuaunt lautcr de la Trinite 
ke est en le orient del see pctri- 
archak Ilukes desuz un autre 
chace de fust trerichement de oer 
et des peres preciouses appareylee 
en tote rcuerence honurablemcr.t 
cele mistrent. Si demurt par plate 
de oer tote part couerte el riche- 
ment garnye. 

(See p. 229.) 

Tbid.fol. 225, col. I. line 4. 

Pus sur cele ordinaunce vint en 
Englctere laauauntdiste Margarcte, 
et la V. Ide de Scptembre Icrce- 
ueske de Caunterb5're Robert les 
esposailes celebra entre le Eduuard 
auauntdiot et cele Margarcte en le 
hu5 del eglise de Caunterbyre 
dcuers len cloistre de costc le lius 
del martirement Scynt Thomas. 
Kar le roy hors de la chaumbre le 
priur vint, ct Margarcte hors du 
palcys Icrceueske ou lurs hosteaurs 
pris cstoient. E sur ceo lerceueske 
auaunt nome Robert la niesse des 
esposay les cclcbra al auter del 
fertre Seynt Thomas le martir. E 
le drap ke outre le roy et la royne 
fust estcndu en tens de la benisun 
plusurs chalcngerent. Cest a 
sauoyr lerceueske par la resim de 

sun office, le pri\g|jf)ar la resun '?e 
la mere eglise, en la quele vnkcs 
accun riens ne ressust ne ne cuoyt 
de fee, par la resun de office ke en 
cele feist, pur ceo ke Icglise de 
Caunterbyre ne est une chapele 
Icrceueske, mcs mere eglise de 
totes les eglises et chapeles de tute 
la prouince de Caunterbyre. Le 
clerc ausi ke la croyz Icrceueske 
porta le auauntdist drap chalan;ja. 
E les clers ausi de la chapele le 
roy ccl memes drap chalcngerent. 
Dunt per ceo ke en teu manere 
taunt de diuers chalenges sur eel 
drap hy estoyent et certein ^^lko^e 
nestoit a ki de droit demorcr 
deuoyt, comaunda le roy eel drap 
au Cunte de Nichole liurer, 
cum en owele meyn, taunt ke Ja 
discussiun se preist, ky dc droyt le 
deucroyt auoyr. Si fust eel dr.^.p 

Travels of the Bohemian Embassy, 


negeres apres de par le roy au 
feitre Se}Tit Thomas maunde. Le 
samaday procheyn suyaunt la au- 
auntdiste royne Margarete sa messe 
en la chapele lerceueske dediens 
le paleys oyst, la quele celebra le 

eueske de Couentre. Si offrist 
ilukes la royne a la manere de 
autres femmes sun cirge a les 
miens del eveske chauntaunt. E 
fust eel cirge tauntost au ferte 
Seint Thomas porte. 


[Tn 1446 a Bohemian noble, Leo von 'Rotzmital, was sent on an 
embassy to England. His travels are related in two curious narratives : 
one by a Bohemian, Schassek, now only known through a Latin trans- 
lation ; the other, a German, Tetzel of Nuremberg. They were 
published in 1847 by Professor Hye, in the University of Ghent, and 
were first introduced to the notice of the English public in an able and 
instructive article in the "Quarterly Review," of March 1852, ascribed 
to Mr. Ford, To his courtesy I am indebted for the volume from which 
the following extracts are made.] 

CANTERBURY. (See pp. 203, 217, 218.) 

(i.) Post eum casum die tertia, 
rursus navim conscendentes, in 
Angliam cursura tenuimus. Cum- 
que appropinquaremus, conspex- 
imus montes excelsos cake plenos, 
quam igne urere opus non est. 

li montes e longinquo nivibus 
operti videntur. lis arx adjacet, a 
Cacodaemonibus extructa, adco 
valida et munita, ut in nulla Chris- 
tianorum provincia par ei reperiri 
queat. Montes illos arcemque 
praetervecti Sandvico urbi appuli- 
mus ; ea mari adjacet, unde muUae 
regiones navibus adiri possunt. 
Ilaec prima urbium Angliae in eo 
littore occurrit. 

Ibi primum conspexi navigia 
maritima, Naves, Galcones, et 
Cochas. Navis dicitur, quae vcntis 

et solis agitur. Galeon est, qui 
remigio ducitur : eorum aliqui 
ultra ducentos remiges habent. Id 
navigii genus est magnitudine et 
longitudine praecellenti, quo et 
secundis et adversis ventis navigari 
potest. Eo, ut plurimum, belia 
maritima geri consuevere, utpote 
quod aliquot ccntenos homines 
simul capere possit Tertium 
genus est Cocha, quam dicunt, et 
ea satis magna. Scd nullam rem 
magis demirabar, quam nautas 
malum ascendentes, et ventorum 
adventum distantiamquepraedicen- 
tes, et quae vela intendi, quaeve 
demidebeant, praecipientes. Inter 
eos unum nautam ita agilem vidi, 
ut vix cum CO quisquam comparari 


Extracts from tJie 

Sandvici consuetude est, ut 
totam noctem cum fidicinibus et 
tubiciaibus obambulent, clamantes, 
et quis eo tempore ventus flet, 
annunciantes. Eo audito negoci- 
atores, si ventus sibi commodus 
flare nunciatur, egressi naves con- 
scendunt et ad patrias suas cursum 

Sandvico Cantuariam octo mil- 
liarium iter est. Ea urbs est 
Archiepiscopo Angliae subjecta, 
qui ibi domicilium suum habet 
Coenobium ibi visitur tanta ele- 
gantia, ut ei vix in ulla Christian- 
orum provincia par inveniatur, sicut 
hac in re omnes peregrinatores 
consentiunt. Id templum triplici 
contignatione fomicta constat, ita 
ut tria templa, unum supra alterum, 
censeri possint : desuper stanno 
totum contegitur. 

In eo templo occisus est Divus 
Thomas Cantuariensis Archiepis- 
copus, ideo quod iniquis legibus, 
quas Rex Henricus contra Eccle- 
siae Catholicae libertatem rogabat, 
sese constanter opposuit. Qui pri- 
mum in exilium pulsus est, deinde 
cum revocatus esset, in templo sub 
vespertinis precibus a nefariis 
hominibus, qui regi impio gratifi- 
cari cupiebant, Deum et sanctos 
invocans, capite truncatus est. 

Ibi vidimus sepulchrum et caput 
ipsius. Sepulchrum ex puro auro 
conflatum est, et gemmis adoma- 
tum, tamque magnificis donariis 
ditatum, ut par ei ncsciam. Inter 
alias res preciosas spectatur in eo 
et carbunculus gemma, qui noctu 
splendere solet, dimidi ovi gallina- 
cei magnitudine. Iliud enim 

sepulchrum a multla Regibus, 
Principibus, mercatoribus opulen- 
tes, aliisque piis hominibus muni- 
fice locupletatum est. Ibi omnes 
reliquiae nobis monstratae sunt : 
primum caput Divi Thomae Ar- 
chiepiscopi, rasuraque vel calvities 
ejusdem ; deinde columna ante 
sacellum Genitricis Dei, juxta 
quam orare, et colloquio Beatae 
virginis (quod a multis visum et 
auditum esse nobis certo affirma- 
batur) perfrui solitus est. Sed ex 
eo tempore, quo haec facta fuerant, 
jam anni trecenti elapsi sunt. 
Divus autem ipse non statim pro 
sancto habitus est, verum post 
annos demum ducentos, cum in- 
gentibus miraculis inclaresceret, in 
numerum divorum relatus est 

Fons est in eo coenobio, cujus 
aquae quinquies in sanguinem, et 
semel in lac commutatae fuerant, 
idque non multo ante, quam nos 
eo venissemus, factum esse dicitur. 

Caeteras sacras rellquias, quas 
ibi conspeximus, omnes annotavi, 
quae hae sunt : primum vidimus 
redimiculum Beatae virginis, frus- 
tum de veste Christ!, tresque 
spinas de corona ejusdem. 

Deinde contemplati sumus 
sancti Thomae subuculum, et cere- 
brum ejus, et divorum Thomae 
lohannisque Apostolorum san- 
guinem. Spectavimus etium gla- 
dium, quo decoll.itns est sanctus 
Thomas Cantuariensis, et crinef 
matris Dei, et portionem de sepul- 
chro ejusdem. Monstrabatur quo- 
que nobis pars humeri Divi Sime- 
onis, ejus, qui Christum in ulnis 
gestaverat, Beatae Lustrabenae 

Travels of the Bohemian Embassy, 257 

caput, cms unum S. Georgii, 
frustum corporis et ossa S. Laur- 
entii, cms S. Romani Episcopi 
crus Ricordiae virginis, calix Beati 
Thomae, quao in administratione 
Missae Cantuariae utifuerat solitus, 
crus Mildae virginis, cms Euduar- 
dae virginis. Aspeximus quoque 
dentem Johannis Baptistae, por- 
tionem crucis Petri et Andreae 
Apostolomm, ossa Philippi et 
Jacobi Apostolomm, dentem et 
digitum Stephani Martyris, ossa 
Catharina evirginis, oleumque de 
sepulchre ejus, quod ad hanc us- 
que diem inde manare fertur ; 
crines Beatae Mariae Magdalenae, 
dentem divi Benedicti, digitum 
sancti Urbani, labia unius infau- 
tium ab Herode occisomm, ossa 
beati dementis, ossa divi Vincen- 
tii. Et alia plurima nobis mons- 
trabantur, quae hoc loco a me 
annotata non sunt. 

Cantuaria digress! per noctem 
substitimus Rochestriae, urbe vi- 
ginti milliaribus inde distante. 
Rochesteria Londinum, vigintlqua- 
tur milliarium itinere confecto, 
progress! sumus. Ea est, urbs 
ampla et magnifica, arces habet 
duas. Earum alteram, quae in 
extreme urbis sito, sinu maris 
alluitur. Rex Angliae incoolit quem 
ibi offendimus. Ille sinus (Tha- 
mesis fl.) ponte lapideo longo, 
super quem per totam ejus longi- 
tudinem aedes sunt extmctae, 
stemitur. Nullibi' tantum milvo- 
rum numemm vide, quam ibi, quos 
laedere capitale est. 

Londini cum essemus, deduct! 
lumus in id templum, in quo vivus 

Thomas natus esse fertur ; ibi 
matris et sororis ipsius sepulchra 
disuntur ; deinde et in alterum ubi 
S. Keuhardus sepultus est. 

(2.) De fuoren wir m!t grossem 
ungewittur in ein stat, heisst Kan- 

Meinem herm und andern 
gesellen thet das mer se we, das 
sie auf dem schiff lagen, als waeren 
sie tot 

Kanterburg ist in Engallant und 
gehort dem kunig von Engellant 
zu. De leit der lieb hcrr sant 
Thomas. In der selben stat ist gar 
ein kostlicher sarch im miinster, 
wann es ist ein bistum da und gar 
ein hiibsche kirchen. Der sarch, 
darinne sant Thomas leit, ist das 
geringst daran gold, und ist lang 
und weit, das ein mitlein person 
darin ligen mag ; aber mit perlein 
und edelgestein so ist er gar seer 
kostlish geziert, das man meint, 
das kein kosthcher sarch sey in der 
christenheit, und da auch se gross 
wunderzeichen geschehen als da. 

Item zu einen zeiten, da het 
sich ein kunig von Frankreich in 
einem veldstreit dahin gelobt ; also 
gesigt der kunig seinen veinden eb 
und kam zu dem miinster und zu 
dem heiligen herm sant Thomas, 
und kniet fiir den sarch und sprach 
sein gebet und het einen ring an 
seiner hand, darin was ser ein 
kostlicher stein. Alsh het der 
bischof des selben miinster Kanter- 
burg den kunig gebeten, er sol den 
nng mitsamt dem stein an den 
sarch geben, Der kunig saget, der 


Extracts from iJie 

stein waer im zu vast lieb und hett 
grossen glauben ; was er anfieng, 
so er den ring an der hand hctt, 
das jm nit mocht mislingcn. Aber 
er wolt jm an den sarch geben, 
domit er aber desder basscr geziert 
wurd, liunderllauscnd gulden. Dcr 
biscof was ser fro und dankt dcm 
kunig. Sobald der kunig die wort 
bet geredet und dem bischof den 
ring het versagt, von stund an 
springt der stein auss dem ring und 
mitten in den sarch als hett en ein 
goldschmid hinein gemacht Do 
das miracul der kunig sach, do bat 
er den Ueben herm sant Thomas 
und den bischof, das er jm sein 
siind vergeb, und gab darnach den 
ring und etwan vil ob hunderdt 
tausend gulden an den sarch. Nic- 
mand kan gewissen wass stein das 
ist. Er hat ser einen hellcn 
liechten schein und brinnt als ein 
liecht, das kein gesicht erleiden 
mag, jn so stark anzushens, domit 
man jm sein varb erkennen mocht. 
Man mcint, das er an seiner, giiet 
so kosllich scy : so ein kunig von 
Engellant gefangen wurd, so mocht 
man jn damit losen ; wann er sey 
kobtlicher, dann das ganz Engel- 
land. Und unter dem sarch ist die 
Stat, do der lieb hcrr sant Thomas 
enthaubtet worden ist, und ob dem 

sarch hecht ein grob harein hemd, 
das er angetragen hatt, imd auf der 
linken seiten, so man hinein geet, 
do ist einn brunn, darauss hat sant 
Thomas altag tnmken. Der hat 
sich zu sant Thomas zeiten fuufmal 
vervvandelt in milch und blut. 
Darauss trank meinn herr 1 1 err 
Lew und all sein diener. Und 
darnach geet man in ein klcine 
grufft als in ein cappellen, da man 
sant Thomas gemartert hat. Da 
zeigct man uns das schwert, damit 
man jm den kopf abgeschlagen hat. 
Da weiset man auch ein merklich 
stuck des heiligen creuzes, auch 
dcr ndgel einen und den rechten 
arm des lieben herm Ritter sant 
Gorgen und etlich dom in einer 
moslranzen von der diimeu kron. 

Auss der cappellen get man 
herfur zu einera steinen stul, da ist 
unser Frawen bild, dasgar oft mit 
sant Thomas geredet hat. Das 
selbig bild stet iezunt im kor und 
hat ser von kostlichem gestein und 
perlein ein kron auf, die man umb 
gross gut schatzt Da sahen wir 
gar kostlich cantores meinem herrn 
zu eien ein schons salve singcn. 
In unser sprach heisst man den 
sant Thomas von Kandelberg ; 
aber er heisst sant Thomas von 


The following extract is from a work of "William Tliomas, Clerk of 
the Privy Council in the reign of Edward VI., who was executed in the 
reign of Mary, for an alleged share in Wyat's conspiracy. Amongst 
otlier works he left a *' Defence of King Henry VIII.," entitled, "II 
Pelerino Inglcse," wliich is couched in the form of a dialogue with some 

Pelcrino In^lese, 


Italian gentlemen, who ask him numerous questions as to the common 
charges against the king, to which he rephes. The work is in the 
Cotton MSS. in the British Museum, and has since been pubUshed by 
Mr. Froude, under the title of *' The Pilgrim." 

(See pp. 225, 243.) 

Cotton MS., VesJ)asian D, xviii., 
p. 61. 

" * These wordes were marked 
of them that wayted on the table, 
in such wise that without more 
adoe, iij of those gentylmen waiters 
considerated together, and streyght 
wayes toke their iourney to Can- 
terbury where tarr>-ing their tyme, 
on an euening fymlyng this Byshop 
in the common cloyster, after they 
had asked hym certayne questions, 
whereunto he most arrogantly made 
answere, they slew hym. And here 
began the holynes, for incontinently 
as these gentylmen were departed, 
the monkes of that monastery 
locked up the church doores, and 
perswaded the people that the bells 
fell on ryngyng by them selves, and 
here was crying of * miracles, mira- 
cles,' so earnestly that the deuilish 
monks, to nourish the supersticion 
of this new martired saynt, having 
the place longe tyme seperate unto 
them selves, gtii<i propter sail' 
ginnerji suspend untiir sacra, cor- 
rupted the fresh water of a well 
thereby, with a certayne mixture ; 
that many tymes it appeared bloudy, 
which they perswaded should pro- 
ccde by myracle of tlie holy mar- 
terdome : and the water mervey- 
lously cured all manner of infirmi- 
ties, insomuch that the ignoraunt 

multitude came runnying together 
of all handes, specyally after tlie 
false miracles were confermed by 
the popes canonisacion, wliich 
folowed within a few yeres after 
as sone as the Romayne See had 
ratified this saintes glory in heaven : 
yea, and more, these fayned mira- 
cles had such credit at length, that 
the poore kinge himselfe was per- 
swaded to beleve them, and in 
effect came in person to visett the 
holy place with greate repentaunce 
of his passed euil doyng, and for 
satisfaction of his synnes gave many 
greate and fay re possessions to the 
monasterye of the foresayde reli- 
gious : and thus finally was this 
holy martir sanctified on all handes. 
Butt the kynges maiestie that now 
is dead fyndyng the maner of the 
saints lyfe to agree evil with the 
proportione of a very sainte, and 
merveylyng at the vertue of this 
water, that healed all infirmities, 
as the blynde world determined, 
to see the substanciall profe of this 
thinge, in effect found these mira- 
cles to be utterly false, for when 
supersticion was taken away from 
the ignoraunt multitudes, then 
ceassed all the vertue of this water, 
which now remaynethplayne water, 
as all other waters do : so that the 
kyng moved of nccessitie, could no 
lesse do then deface the shryne that 


TJie Pilgrims^ 


#vas author of so much ydolatry. 
Whether the doyng thereof hath 
bene the undoyng of the canonised 
saint, or not, I cannot tell. But 
this is true, that his bones are spred 
amongest the bones of so many 
dead men, that without some greate 
miracle they wyll not be found 
aga}Tie.' ' By my trouth ' (sayde 

one of the gentylmen) ' in this your 
kynge dyd as I wold have done.* 
'What' (quoth m)Tie adversar>'), 
*do ye credit him?' 'Within a 
litle,' sayd that other, ' for his tale 
is sensible : and I have knowen of 
the lyke false miracles here in 
Italye, proved before my face.'" 

NOTE D. (See p. 203.) 


The evidence of local tradition 
in several places in Surrey and 
Kent appears to favour the suppo- 
sition that a line of road, tracked 
out possibly in very early times, 
even before the coming of the 
Romans, and running along the 
south flank of the north Downs, 
w^hich traverse Surrey from Farn- 
ham westward into Kent, and 
thence towards Canterbury, had 
been subsequently frequented by 
pilgrims in their progress from 
Southampton, as also from the west 
through Winchester, to the Shrine 
of St. Thomas. It has been sup- 
posed, with much probability, that 
Henry II., when he landed at 
Southampton, July 8, 1 1 74, and 
made his pilgrimage to Becket's 
tomb, may have approached Can- 
terbuiy by this route. 

It may be assumed that foreign 
devotees from Brittany, Anjou, the 
western parts of Normandy, and 
the adjacent provinces of France, 
would choose the more convenient 

transit from the mouth of the Seine, 
or other French ports, to the an- 
cient haven of Hanton, or South- 
ampton. That place, from the 
earliest times, was greatly fre- 
quented on account of the facilities 
which it presented to commercial 
intercourse with the continent, and 
its vicinity to the ancient capital of 
the Heptarchy, the city of Win- 
chester, where our earlier sove- 
reigns constantly resided. This 
course would obviously be more 
commodious to many, who were 
attracted to our shores by the im- 
portant ecclesiastical establishments 
which surrounded the shrine of St. 
Swithin at Winchester, and still 
more by the extended celebrity of 
the reliques of St. Thomas ; whilst 
pilgrims from the more northern 
parts of France, or from Flanders, 
would prefer the more frequented 
passage by Seaford, Dover, or 

On leaving Southampton, the 
pilgrims — unless their course lay by 

Tctwards the Shrine, 


Winchester — would probably take 
the most secure and direct line of 
communication towards Famham, 
crossing the Itchen at Stoneham, 
and thence in the direction of 
Bishop's Waltham, Alton, and 
Froyle. It is, however, by no 
means evident that the hne would 
pass through those places, and it 
must be left to the local observation 
of those who may care to investi- 
gate the ancient trackways of 
Hampshire, whether the course of 
the pilgrims may not have passed 
from Southampton, in the direction 
of Durley, to Upham, and rather 
north of Bishop's Waltham, falling 
into the ** Salt Lane," a name 
often serving to indicate the trace 
of an early line of communication, 
and so either by Cheriton and 
Alresford, or by Ropley into the 
old road from Winchester to Fam- 
ham, or else over Milbarrow and 
Kilmison downs, towards Famham. 
Or the track may have passed by 
Beacon hill, west of Wamford, 
joining the present road from Fare- 
ham to Alton, or about nine miles 
south of the latter. Near this line 
of road, moreover, a little west of 
it, and about three miles from 
Alton, a trace of the course of the 
** Pilgrims' Path" seems to be 
found in the name of a farm or 
dwelling near Rotherfield Park and 
East Tisted, still known as '* Pil- 
grims' Place." 

At Famham, the abrupt termi- 
nation of the Surrey downs presents 
itself, in the remarkable ridge 
known as the "Ilog's Back." 

Thence there are two communica- 
tions towards Guildford, diverging 
at a place cdled '* Whiteway's 
End," one being the main turnpike- 
road along the ridge, the other — 
and probably the more ancient — 
mnning under that height towards 
the tumulus and adjoining eminence 
south of Guildford, known as St. 
Catharine's hill, where it seems to 
have crossed the river Wey, at a 
ferry towards Shalford. The name 
of ** Conduit Farm," near this line, 
situate on the south flank of the 
Hog's Back, may possibly be worth 
observation. Eastward of Guild- 
ford, the way doubtless proceeded 
along the flank of the downs, by or 
near St Martha's Chapel, situate 
on a remarkable eminence, insu- 
lated from the adjacent downs. 

One of the county historians 
gives the following observation 
under Albury : ** The ancient path 
called the Pilgrims' Way, which 
led from the city of Winchester to 
Canterbury, crosses this parish, and 
is said to have been much used in 
former times." ^ From Albury the 
line of the way, running east, is in 
many places discernible on the side 
of the Surrey downs, sometimes 
slill used as an occupation road, or 
bridle way, its course indicated fre- 
quently by yew-trees at intervals, 
which are to be seen also occa- 
sionally left standing in the arable 
fields, where ancient enclosures 
have been tlirown down and the 
plough has effaced every other ves- 
tige of this ancient track. The 
line, for the most part, it would 

1 Brayley's Hist, of Surrey, vol. v. p. 168. 


The Pilgnms Way 

seem, took its course about mid- 
way down the hill-side, and on the 
northern verge of the older cultiva- 
tion of these chalk-doMTis, The 
course of the way would doubtless 
have been marked more distinctly, 
had not the progress of modem 
improvements often extended the 
line di cultivation upwards, and 
converted from time to time further 
portions of the hill-side into arable 
lani Under the picturesque 
height of Boxhill several yews of 
large size remain in ploughed land, 
reliques no doubt of tliis ancient 
way, and a row more or less con- 
tinuous marks its progress as it 
leads towards Reigate, passing to 
the north of Brockham and Betch- 

It may be worth inquiry whether 
Reigate (Saxon, Rige-gate, the 
Ridge-road), originally called Cher- 
chefelle, may not have received its 
later name from its proximity to 
such a line of communication east 
and west along the Downs, rather 
than from the supposed ancient 
ascent northward* over the ridge to 
Gatton, and so towards London. 

It must be noticed, in connec- 
tion with the transit of pilgrims 
along the way, at no great distance 
north of Reigate, towards the 
Shrine of St. Thomas, that when 
they descended to that little town 
to seek lodging or provisions, they 
there foimd a little chapel dedicated 

to the Saint, midway in their jour- 
neying from Southampton or Win- 
chester towards Canterbury. The 
site is now occupied by the tovsii- 
hall or court-house, built about 
1708, when the chapel had been 
demolished. In 1801, when an 
enlargement of the prison, here 
used at Quarter Sessions, was made, 
some portions of the foundations of 
this chapel of St, Thomas were 
brought to riew." 

Proceeding eastward from Rei- 
gate, the way traversed the parish 
of Merstham. The county history 
states, "that a lane in the parish 
retains the name of Pilgrims' Lane, 
It runs in the direction of the chalk- 
hills, and was the course taken by 
pilgrims from the west, who re- 
sorted (as indeed from all parts) to 
Canterbury, to pay their devotions 
at the shrine of St. Thomas \ 
Bccket. It remains perfect in Tit- 
sey, a parish to the east of this." • 

The way may have proceeded 
by Barrow Green, and the remark- 
able tumulus there situated, in the 
parish of Oxtead, and although 
the traces are obscure, owing to 
the progress of cultivation along the 
flank of the downs, positive vestiges 
of the line occur at intervals. Thus, 
in the parish of Tatsfield the county 
historian relates that Sir John 
Gresham built his new house "at 
the bottom of the hill near the Pil- 
grim Road (so called from tlie* 

* This supposition has been somerimcf 
advanced. See Manning and Bray, i. 
171. It is there conjectured thnt a 
branch of the Stone Street turned ofl'from 
Oclcley by Newdigate to Reigate, and so 

over the Ridge, 

• Manning and Bray, History of Sur- 
rey, voL L pp. 388, 389. 

• Ibid., vol. ii. p. 353. Gent. M»g. 
xcv'ii. ii. p. 414. 

Towards the Shrine, 


sage of pilgrims to the Slmne of 
Thomas a Becket, at Canterbury), 
which is now perfect, not nine feet 
wide, still used as a road. It com- 
mences at the village of Titsey, and 
passes on close to the foot of the 
hill, through this parish into Kent." 
A more recent writer, Brayley, 
describing this Pilgrims' road in the 
parish of Tatsfield, says, that the 
measurement stated to be "not 
nine feet " is incorrect *' It is in 
fact about fifteen feet in width, and 
without any appearance of having 
been widened." * Mr. Leveson 
Gower, of Titsey Place, has a farm 
adjacent to it, and known as the 
'* Pilgrimsway Farm." At no 
great distance from the course of 
the way, near Titsey, there is a 
small unenclosed green on the ridge 
of the downs, bearing the designa- 
tion of "Cold Harbour," a name 
constantly found near lines of an- 
cient road. 

Not far from Tatsfield the Pil- 
grims' Way entered the county of 
Kent, and its course appears plainly 
indicated towards Chevening Park. 
From thence it seems to have tra- 
versed the pastures and the open- 
ing in the hills, serving as a passage 
for the river Darent, and it is found 
again skirting the chain of downs 
beyond for several miles, rarely, if 
ever, passing through the villages 
or hamlets, but pursuing a solitary 
course about a quarter of a mile 
more or less to the northward of 
them. This observation applies 
generally to this ancient track. It 
ii to be traced passing thus above 

Kemsing, Wrotham, Trottescliffe, 
and a few small hamlets, till it ap- 
proaches the Medway. From Ot- 
ford towards the East to Hailing, 
the track appears to be well known, 
as I am informed by the Rev. W. 
Pearson, of Canterbury, as ** the 
Pilgrims* Road." He describes 
this portion as a narrow way, much 
like an ordinary parish road, and 
much used as a line of direct com- 
munication along the side of the 
downs. The name is generally 
recognised in that part of the 
county, and the tradition is that 
pilgrims used, in old times, to ride 
along that road towards Canter- 
bury. In the maps given in 
Hasted's History of Kent, this lino 
is marked as the Pilgrims' Road, 
near Otford, as also near Hailing, 
Here, doubtless, a branch of the 
original ancient track proceeded 
along the high ground on the west 
of the river Medway, towards 
Strood and the Watling Street, 
This might have been indeed, it 
were reasonable to suppose, the 
more convenient mode of pursuing 
the remainder of the journey to 
Canterbury. It is, however, more 
probable that the Pilgrims' Way 
crossed the pastures and the Med- 
way, either at Snodland or Lower 
Hailing, and regained the hills on 
the opposite side, along tlie flank 
of which it ran as before, near Kits 
Coty House, leaving Boxley Abbey 
to the south at no great distance, 
and slightly diverging towards the 
south-east, by Deptling, Thumham, 
and the hamlet of Broad Street, 

* Manoiog slxkI Bray, vol. ii. p. 403 ; Brayley's Hi&t., ToL iv. p. 198. 


The Pilgrims' Way. 

progressed past Hollingbourn, 
Harrietsham, and Lenham, to- 
wards Charing/ where the lane 
passing about half a mile to the 
north of that place is still known, 
as Mr. Pearson informs me, by the 
name of the Pilgrims' Road. The 
remarkable feature of its course is 
invariable, since it does not pass 
through any of these places, but 
near them, namely from a quarter 
to half a mile to the noi th of them. 
From Charing the ancient 
British track may have continued 
towards the sea by Wye, near an- 
other "Cold Harbour," situate at 
the part of the continuation of the 
hilly chain, east of Wye, and so by 
Stouting, across the Roman Stone 
Street, to the coast The pilgrims, 
it may be conjectured, directed 
their course from Charing through 
the woodland district, either by 
Chilham and along the north bank 
of the river Stour, thus approach- 
ing Canterbury by an ancient deep 
road, still strikingly marked on the 
flank of the hill, not far from 
Harbledown. Another course from 
Charing may, however, have been 
taken rather more north of the 
present road from that place to 
Canterbury ; and such a line may 
be traced by Snode Street, Beacon 
Hill, Stone Stile, and Fisher's 
Street, names indicative of an an- 
cient track, and so by Hatch Green 
and Bigberry Wood, straight into 
the deep way already mentioned, 
at Harbledown, which falls nearly 

» At Charing a remarkable reHq;ic 
was shown, the block on which John the 
Baptist was beheaded. It wa:* broi.ght 

in a straight line with the last half- 
mile of the great road from London 
entering into Canterbury at St. 
Dunstan's Church. It must, how- 
ever, be remarked, that the hill- 
side lane proceeds in a direct line 
towards the S.E. beyond Charing, 
and although it presented a more 
circuitous course towards Canter- 
bury, it may, especially in earlier 
times, have been frequented in 
preference to any shorter path 
across the woodland district The 
line indeed is distinct, passing 
north of Westwell and Eastwell ; 
and I am here again indebted to 
the local knowledge of my obliging 
infoi-mant, the Rev. W. Pearson, 
who states that an ancient track, 
still known as the Pilgrims* Road, 
exists, running above the Ashford 
and Canterbury turnpike road and 
parallel with it It is a bridle-way, 
taking its course near the villages 
of Boughton Alph and Godmers- 
ham, towards Canterbury. 

There can be no doubt that 
frequent vestiges of tlie *' Pilgrims' 
Path " might be traced by actual 
examination of the localities along 
the course here tracked out, chiefly 
by aid of the Ordnance Survey. 
The careful investigation of this 
remarkable ancient track might 
throw light upon the earlier occu- 
pation of the south-eastern parts of 
England ; although there are no 
indications of its having been 
formed by the Romans, there can 
be little doubt that it was used by 

to England by Richard I. PhLIipot, 
p. 100. 

Pilgrimage of John of Fra^tce, 


them, as evinced by numerous ves- 
tiges of villas and other remains of 
the Roman age near its course. It 
is difficult to explain the preference 
shown, as it would appear, by the 
pilgrims of later times for a route 
which avoided the towns, villages, 
and more populous districts, whilst 
a road for the most part is found 
at no great distance, pursuing its 
course through them parallel to 
that of the secluded Pilgrims' Path. 
Our thoughts naturally recur to 
times of less favoured social condi- 
tions than o\ur own, times of mis- 

rule or distrust, when, to repeat an 
apposite passage of Holy Writ cited 
in a former part of this volume, as 
"in the days of Shamgar, the son 
of Anath, in the days of Jael, the 
highways were unoccupied, and 
the travellers walked through by- 
ways." ^ 

It may be here observed that 
the principal route to Walsingham, 
by Newm.arket, Brandon, and Fa- 
kenham, was known as the ** Pal- 
mers' Way," or "Walsingham 
Green Way." 

A. W. 


ST. THOMAS, IN 1360. (See pp. 140, 229.) 

On two memorable occasions 
was the Shrine of St. Thomas 
visited by a King of France ; the 
first being the solemn pilgrimage 
made in 11 79, by Louis VII., to 
whom, according to the relation 
of Brompton, the saint had thrice 
appeared in a vision. No French 
King previously to that time, as it 
is observed by a contemporary 
chronicler, had set foot on English 
ground. The King came in the 
habit of a pilgrim ; amongst his 
rich oblations were the celebrated 
gem, the '* lapis recalls ^^' and the 
grant to the convent of a hundred 
tnodii of wine, for ever. We are 
indebted to the Historical Society 
of France for the publication of 
certain particulars regarding an- 

other royal visit to Canterbury, 
namely that made by John, King 
of France, on his return from cap- 
tivity in England, after the Treaty 
of Bretigny. John, with Philip, 
his youngest son, had been taken 
prisoners at the field of Poitiers, 
September 20th, 1356, and they 
were brought to England by the 
Black Prince, in May following. 
Their route to London lay, accord- 
ing to the relation of Froissart, by 
Canterbury and Rochester, and he 
states that the captives rested for 
a day to make their offerings to St. 

The document which has sup- 
plied the fallowing particulars of 
the visit on their quitting England, 
is the account by the King's chap- 

» Judges, T. ft. 


Pilgrimage of John of Frame, 

lain and notary of the expenditure 
during the last year of his cap- 
tivity, from July 1st, 1359, to July 
8 th, 1360, when John landed at 

On the last day of June, 1360, 
John took his departure from the 
Tower of London and proceeded 
to Eltham Palace, where a grand 
farewell entertainment had been 
prepared by Queen Philippa ; on 
the next day, July 1st, after dinner 
the King took his leave, and 
passed the night at Dartford. It 
may suffice to observe that five 
days were occupied in his journey 
to Canterbury, where he arrived 
on July 4th, remaining one night, 
and proceeded on the following 
day, being Sunday, to Dover. 
The journal records the frequent 
offerings and alms dispensed liber- 
ally by the King at various places 
along his route from Eltham — to 
the friars at Dartford, the master 
and brothers of the Ostel Dieu, at 
Ospring, where he lodged for the 
night, to four ** wfl/a^/rr/Xr," or 
hospitals for lepers, and to *' Mes- 
slre Richard Lcxden, chevalier 

anglois qui est hermite ler Sti- 
bome " (Sittingboume). T!ie 
knightly anchorite received no less 
than twenty nobles, valued at £^ 
13J. 4//. As John passed Harble- 
down, ten acuz^ or 23J. 4//., were 
given by the King's command as 
alms to the '* nonains de Helba- 
donne lez Cantorberie." 

The following entries record 
the offerings of the King and of 
Philip, his son, afterwards Duke 
of Burgundy, the companion of 
his captivity. ** Le Roy, offerande 
faicte par li en 3 lieux de I'eglise de 
S. Thomas de Cantorberie, sans 
les joyaux qu'il y dorma, 10 nobles, 
valent ;^33, 6j. Zd. Monseigneur 
Philippe, pour samblable, en ce 
lieu, 16 royaux, 3/. piece." ' Tlie 
three places at which the King's 
offerings were made, may probably 
have been the Shrine, the altar ad 
punctum ensis in the Martyrdom, 
and the head of the saint, described 
by Erasmus as shown in the crypt* 
The jewels presented by John on 
this occasion are not described, 
but they were probably of a costly 
character, since his offering in 

' Comptes de rArgenlerie des Rois 
de France au XIV.* siicle, edited by L. 
Doiict-d'Arcq for the Soci^t^ del'IIistoire 
de France. Paris, 1851. The Journal 
of King John's expenses in England 
commences at p. 194, and it is followed 
by an Itinerary of the King's captivity 
in England, pp. 278-284. This curious 
Journal is preserved iu the Imperial 
Library at Paris. 

* Journal de la depcnse du'.Roi Jean, 
p. 372. 

• In the Household Accounts of 35, 
•6 Edward III., the oblations of Queen 
Philippa are thus recorded;— At the 

Shrine, 40*. ; at the functum. tnsis, y. ; 
and in alms, \id. Edmund of Wood' 
stock offered at the same time 13^. at tlie 
Shrine ; the like amount at the image of 
the Virgin in the crypt [in volt a), at the 
punctutn ensis, and at the head of St. 
Thomas. Battely, p. 3o. Edward I. 
appears to have presented annually a 
/irmaculufH of gold, value £$> at the 
Shnne and at the image of the Virgin 
in vouta, and ornaments of the same 
value were offered in the name of his 
Queen and of Prince Edward. Libef 
Garderobe Edw. I. 

Documents in the Treasury at Canterbury, 26 j 

money amounted only to ten 
nobles, whereas at St Augustine's, 
where he heard mass on the Sun- 
day morning before his departure 
for the coast, his offering was 
seventy-five nobles.* Thtst Joyattx 
may have been precious objects of 
ornament which the King had 
about his person at the moment, 
and they were accordingly not 
entered by the chaplain amongst 
current expenses. The offerings 
at the Shrine were usually, it is 
well known, rings, brooches or 
firmacula^ and the like. The 
precious regal of France appears 
to have been actually worn by 
Lx)uis VII. at the time of his pil- 
grimage, when he offered that 
jewel to the saint. 

On the 5th of July, John 
reached Dover, and took up his 
lodging with the brothers of the 
Maison Dieu, where travellers and 

pilgrims were constantly enter- 
tained. On the morrow he dined 
with the Prince of Wales at the 
Castle, and set sail for Calais after 
dinner on the following day (July 
6th) with the shipping provided by 
Edward III. for his accommoda- 
tion. He made an offering to St. 
Nicholas for the vessel in which he 
crossed the channel, and reached 
Calais safely on July 8th. Edward 
sent as a parting gift to his royal 
captive a chess-board ("j. instru- 
ment appelle I'eschequier "), which 
must have been of considerable 
value, since twenty nobles were 
given to the maker, who brought 
it to the King. He presented also 
a more appropriate gift, the gohelet 
in which he was accustomed to 
drink, in return for which John 
sent **le propre henap k quoy il 
buvoit, qui fa monseigneur St. 
Loys."» A. W. 



I. — Grant of the Manor of Doccomhehy William de Tracy. (See p. III.) 

Amongst the possessions of of the " Donationes Maneriorum 
the monastery of Christ Church, ct Ecclcsiarum," published by 
Canterbury, enumerated in the list Somner, and given in the Monas- 

1 The alms of the King of France 
were distributed with no niggardly hand 
on this occasion. To the Friars preachers 
in Canterbury he gave ao nobles, as also 
to the Cordeliers and the Augustinians, 
and smaller sums to the nonains of 
Northgate and of St. Augustine, the 
women of the Hospital of our Lady, clCt 
Journal, p. 373. 

* Ducange, in his notes on JoinWlIe, 
mentions this cup of gold which had been 
used by St. Louis, and was preserved 
as a sacred relique, and fur a long time 
it was not used, through respect to the 
saint. It is described in the time of 
Louis X. as " la coupe d'or S. Loys, 011 
Ton no boit point." 

268 Documents in tlu Treasury at Canterhiry, 

ticon, the grant of Doccombe is 
recorded' " Willielmus Tracy 
dedit Doccombe tempore Henrici 
secundi, idem domum confirman- 
tis." The manor of Doccombe, 
Daccombe, or Dockham, in the 
parish of Morcton Ilampstead, 
Devonshire, still forms part of 
the possessions of the church of 

The grant by William de Tracy 
has not, as far as I can ascertain, 
been printed ; nor, with the ex- 
ception of a note appended to Lord 
Lyttelton's "Life of Henry IL," 
have I found mention of the exist- 
ence of such a document, with 
the seal described as that of Tracy 
appended, preserved in the Trea- 
sury at Canterbury. There can 
be no doubt that the granter was 
the identical William de Tracy 
who took so prominent a part in 
the murder of Thomas \ Becket. 
Lord Lyttelton supposed that it 
might be his grandson.' The 
document is not dated, but there 
is evidence that the grant was 
made within a short period after 
that event, which took place on 
December 29, 11 70. 

The confirmation by Henry IL 
of Tracy's grant at Doccombe is 
tested at Westminster, the regnal 
year not being stated. Amongst 
the witnesses, however, occur 
•• R. Electo Winton, R. Electo 
Hereford, Johanne Dccano Sa- 

J Somner, Antiquities of Canterbury, 
Appendix, p. 40 ; Monast. Angl., Caley's 
edition, vol. i. p. 98. In the Valor, a6 
Hen. VIII., the manor of Doccombe. 
part of the possessions of Christ Church, 
Is valued »X C^ds. &J. per annum. 

mm." Richard Toelive was elect- 
ed Bishop of Winchester, May i, 
1 1 73; confirmed and consecrated 
in October, 1174. Robert Foliot 
was elected Bishop of Hereford 
in Ii73i and consecrated in Octo- 
ber, 1 1 74. John de Oxeneford 
was Dean of Sarum from 1165 
until he was raised to the see of 
Norwich in 1 1 75. It was only on 
July 8th, 1 1 74, that Henry IL re- 
turned to England after a length- 
ened absence among his French 
possessions : he crossed to South- 
ampton, and forthwith proceeded 
to Canterbury, to perform his 
memorable humiliation at the 
Shrine of St. Thomas. The date 
of his confirmation of Tracy's gift 
is thus ascertained to be between 
July and October, 11 74, and pro- 
bably immediately on the King's 
arrival at Westminster after his 
pilgrimage to Canterbury.* 

Tracy's gift had, moreover, as 
it appears, been regarded by the 
monks of Christ Church as an 
oblation to make some amends for 
his crime. In one of the registers 
of the monastery, a transcript of a 
letter has been preser^'ed, ad- 
dressed by Prior Henry de Estria 
to Hugh de Courtenay.* It bears 
date July 4, 1322, and reminds 
Sir Hugh, doubtless the second 
baron of Okehampton of that 
name, and subsequently created 
Earl of Devon by Edward HI, 

« Lord Lj-ttelton's Life of Henry II., 
vol. iv. p. 284. 

• This confnmation by Hcnr>' IL may 
be found in the Registers, a, fol. 400, and 
8, fol. 26, versa. 

* Register K., xa, foL 139, vert0> 


I. .1 t ' 

O.-.t. 4;rt. uh illt tOKo.-A. 

U.NK UAV Ol 1III-. NAVl-;, 

i'lojace p. 26tt. 

Documents in the Treasury at Canterbury, 269 

that the charter of William de 
Tracy, with the confirmation by 
Henry II., had been shown to 
him as evidence regarding ' * la 
petite terre qe le dit William dona 
a nostre esglise et a nous a Dock- 
umbe, en pure et perpetuele al- 
moigne, pur la mort Saint 
Thomas." The prior requests 
accordingly his orders to his 
** ministres " at that place to leave 
the tenants of the monastery in 
peaceable possession. 

[Original Charter ^ Canterbury 
Treasury^ D. 20.) 

Willelmus de Traci omnibus 
hominibus suis tam Francis quam 
Anglis, et amicis, et ballivis, et 
ministris, et omnibus ad quos lit- 
tere iste pervenerint, Salutem. 
Dono et concedo Capitula Can- 
tuar' pro amore dei et salute anime 
mee, predecessorum meorum, et 
amore beati Thome Archipresulis 
et Martiris memorie venerande, in 
puram et perpetuam elemosinam, 
Centum solidatas terre in Mortuna, 
scilicet Documbam cum pertinentiis 
et cum terris affmioribus, ita quod 
ex Documba et aliis terris proximis 
perficiantur centum ille solidate 
terre. Hoc autem dono ad mona- 
chum unum vestiendum et pascen- 
dum omnibus diebus secul'* indomo 
ilia, qui ibi divina cclcbret pro 
salute vivorum et requie defuncto- 

> Probably, seculi, for ever ; in place 
of the ordinary phrase imperpetuum. 

' Probably one of the family of Payne, 
which gave to the village of Ackford in 
Dorsetshire the name of "Ackford (or 
" Okeford ") Fitz-Pain." Hutchins' Dor- 
Ktshire, iii. 351. 

rum. Ut hoc autem firmum sit et 
ratum et inconcussum et stabile 
sigilli mei munimine et Carta mea 
confirmo. His testibus, Abbate de 
Eufemia, Magistro Radulfo de 
Hospital!, Pagano de Tim', Wil- 
lelmo clerico, Stephano de Pirforde, 
Pagano de Acforde,' Rogero An- 
glico, Godefrido Ribaldo et aliis. 

To this document is appended 
a seal of white wax, the form 
pointed oval, the design rudely exe- 
cuted, representing a female figure 
with very long sleeves reaching 
nearly to her feet. Some traces of 
letters may be discerned around 
the margin of the seal, but too 
much worn away to be deciphered. 
It must be observed that notwith- 
standing the expression "sigilli 
mei munimine," it can scarcely be 
supposed that this seal was actu- 
ally that customarily used by Tracy, 
The pointed oval form was almost 
exclusively appropriated to seals of 
ladies, ecclesiastics, and conventual 
establishments. The figure h man- 
ches mal tailles^ is a device seem- 
ingly most inappropriate to the 
knightly Tracjt It is probable, 
and not inconsistent with the an- 
cient practice of sealing, that having 
no seal of his own at hand, he had 
borrowed one for the occasion. 
The first of the witnesses is de- 
scribed as Abbot of Eufemia.' 

» The conjecture seems not altogether 
inadmissible, that this seal may have 
been that of the Abbot, or of some mem- 
ber of the congregation of St, Eufemia; 
and that the figure may have represented 
the Virgin Martyr of Chalccdon, a saint 
greatly venerated in the Eastern Church. 

2/0 Docninetits in the Treasury at Canterbury. 

This may have been the monastery 
of some note on the western shores 
of the Calabria, near the town and 
gulf of Santa Eufemia, and about 
sixty miles north of the Straits of 
Messina. It is remarkable that 
this place is not far distant from 
Coseiiza, where, according to one 
dreadful tale of the fate of Becket's 
murderers, Tracy having been sen- 
tenced, with his accomplices, by 
Pope Alexander III., to expiate 
their crime in the Holy Land, had 
miserably died on his way thither, 
after confession to the Bishop of the 

In regard to the other witnesses, 
I can only observe that Roger de 
Acford occurs in the Red Book 
of the Exchequer, as holding part 
of a knight's fee in the Honor of 
Barnstaple under William Tracy. 
Payn may have been his son or 
kinsman. Pirforde may have been 
the place now known as Parford, 
near Moreton Hampstead. The 
correct reading of the name de Tirn^ 
may possibly be Tirun. The family 
de Turonibus, settled in early times 
at Dartinglon, Devon, were con- 
nected by marriage with the 

The fact that Tracy actually set 

The reliques of St. Eufemia were trans- 
ferred into the church of St. Sophia at 

> Coscnza is situated about eighteen 
miles north of Santa Eufemia. 

' Anselm Crassus, or Lc Gros, was 
treasurer of Exeter in 1205, and in 1230 
was made Bishop of St. David's. Le 
Neve's Fasti, ed. by Hardy, vol. l.p. 414. 

* Perhaps Morthoc, where the Tracys 
had estates and their residence. The 
word seems to be written "Morech'," 

forth on pilgrimage to the Holy 
Land, which some have seemed to 
question, is proved by the follow- 
ing curious letter in one of the Can- 
terbury registers : — 

Qualiter Amicia uxor Willelmi 
Thaun post mortem viri sui terram 
quam vir ejus dedit Sancto Thome 
ipsa postea dedit. 

{Register in the Canterbuty Trea 
•""ly* 2,/<7/. 400.) 
Viro venerabili et amico in 
Christo, karissimo domino Johanni 
filio Galfridi, Anselmus Crassus 
Thesaurarius Exoniensis' salutem 
et paratam ad obsequia cum devo- 
clone voluntatem. Noverit quod 
quadam die, cum dominam Ami- 
ciam de la More mortuo viro suo 
Everardo Chole in manerio de 
Moreth'* visitassimus, dixit nobis 
quod quidam nomine Willelmus 
Thaun vir ejus qui earn duxit in 
uxorem, cum iter arriperet cum 
domino suo Willelmo de Traci 
versus terram sanctam, eam fecit 
jurare tactissacrosanctis quod totam 
terram ipsius cum pertineniiis suis, 
quam dominus ejus Willelmus de 
Tracy ipsi Willelmo Thaun dedit 
pro homagio et servicio suo, beato 

but the letter t is often so formed as to 
be scarcely distinguishable from a c. In 
Lyson's Devonshire, a barton, named 
More, is mentioned in the parish ot 
Moreton Hampstead. It docs not ap- 
pear that the manor of Morthoe be- 
longed to the Tracys. The manor o( 
Daccombe had the custom of prcbc:.d, 
and the lord of the manor is obliged to 
keep a cucking-stool, for the punishment 
of scolding women. (Lyson's Devonsliire.) 

Documents in tJie Treasury at Canterbury . 271 

Thome Martiri et Conventui eccle- 
sie Christi Cantuariensis assignaret 
in perpetuum possidendam : de- 
functo autem predicto Willelmo 
Thaun in peregrinacione terre 
sancte eadem Amicia alium virum 
accepit, videlicet Everarddum 
Chole, per quein impedita volun- 
tatem et votum primi viri sui Wil- 
lelmi Thaun minime complevit. 
Volens autem dicta Amicia saluti 
anime sue provideie in manum 
nostram totam terram Willehni 
Thaim resignavit, et Conventum 
Ecclesie Christi Cantuariensis per 
nos pilliolo suo seisiavit. Nos vero, 
conventus dicte ecclesie utilitati 
secundum testamentum dicti Wil- 
lelmi Thaun solicite providere 
curantes, seisinam dicte terre loco 
ipsius Conventus Cantuariensis be- 
nigne admisimus, et ejusdem terre 
instrumenta omnia a dicta Amicia 
nobis commissa eidem Conventui 
Cantuariensi restituimus. In cujus 
rei testimonium fieri fecimus prc- 
sentes literas et sigillo nostro sigil- 

I have not been able to ascertain 
who was the ** Dorainus Johannes 
filius Galfridi " to whom the Trea- 
surer of Exeter addressed this com- 
munication. If the supposition be 
correct that the transaction relates 
to certain lands in the parish of 
Morlhoe, where the Tracys had 
considerable property, and where 
William de Tracy is supposed to 

' Sir W. Pole gives " More, of de la 
More" in his Alphabet of Arms of the 
old Devonshire Gentry. '1 he ancient 
family of dc la Moore, named in later 

have resided, at Wollacombe Tracy, 
the presence of the Treasurer of 
Exeter and his visit to the lady 
Amicia de la More are in some 
measure explained, since the ad- 
vowson of Morthoe was part of the 
possessions of the church of Exeter. 
Amicia de la More, as it appears, 
was the wife of a certain William 
Thaun, who held land under Wil- 
liam de Tracy, and had gone with 
him to the Holy Land.^ Before 
his departure, however, Thaun had 
caused his wife to swear upon the 
Gospels, foreseeing doubtless the 
uncertainty of his return, that she 
would duly assign over to St. 
Thomas and the convent of Christ 
Church the land above mentioned. 
On his decease in the course of his 
journey, Amicia espoused Everard 
Chole, by whose persuasion she 
neglected to fulfil her oath and the 
will of her deceased husband. On 
Everard's death, however, it ap- 
pears that she was seized with re- 
morse, and took the occasion of 
the Treasurer's visit to make full 
confession, and to resign into his 
hands the land held by William 
Thaun, giving the convent of Christ 
Church seisin in the person of 
the Treasurer, by delivery of her 
cap [filliolufn], being the object 
probably most conveniently at 
hand. By the foregoing letters 
under his seal, Anselm Crassus 
acknowledges seisin of the land 
for the use of the Convent of 

times at Moore, had their dwelling at 
Morchays, in the parish of Cohimpton. 
—Pole's Collections, p. i86. 

272 Documents in the Treasury at Canterbury. 

Canterbury, and restores to them titles entrusted to him on theii 
all imtrumenta or documents of behalf. 

\\.~-The '* Corona beati Thonu.'' (See p. 231.) 

In searching the ancient ac- 
counts for any evidence regarding 
the Shrine, on those parts of the 
Church of Canterbury where the 
reliques of the Saint were chiefly 
venerated, a few particulars have 
been noticed which suggest the re- 
consideration of the origin and true 
significance of the term Corona, 
* ' Becket's Crown, " as applied to the 
round chapel and tower, terminat- 
ing the eastern part of the church. 

It had been concluded by several 
writers that this part of the fabric, 
the construction of which com- 
menced, as we learn from Gervase, 
in 1 1 80, had received this designa- 
tion from the circumstance that the 
head of the Saint had been placed 
there, eastward of his Shrine. 
Matthew Parker, in his " Anliqui- 
tates Britannicae Ecclesije," at the 
close of his Life of Becket, ob- 
serves, that at first St. Thomas was 
placed less ostentatiously in the 
crypt : — " Deinde sublimiori et ex- 
celso ac sumptuoso delubro condi- 

• Gostling observes (p. 123), "At the 
cast end of the chapel of the Holy 
Trinity, another very handsome one was 
added, called Becket's Crown ; some 
suppose from its figure being circular 
and the ribs, of the arched roof meeting 
in a centre, as those of the crown royal 
do; others on account of part of his skull 
being preserved here as a relic." 

' Architectural History of Canterbury 
Cathedral, p. 56, note. The learned 
Professor observes, that " at all events 
it was a general term, and not peculiar 

tus fuerit, in quo caput ejus scorsim 
a cadavere situra, Thomie Martyris 
Corona appellabatur, ad quod pere- 
grinantes undique confluerent, mu- 
neraque preciosa deferrent," etc. 
Battely, Gostling, Ducarel, and 
Dart, speak of " Becket's Crown," 
and appear to have connected the 
name with the supposed depository 
of the head of the Saint, or of the 
portion of the skull cut off by the 

Professor Willis, whose autho- 
rity must be regarded with the 
greatest respect, rejects this suppo- 
sition. '• The notion (he remarks) 
that this round chapel was called 
Becket's Crown, because part of 
his skull was preserved here as a 
relic, appears wholly untenable." 
He considers the term corona as 
signifying the principle apse of a 
church, referring to a document 
relating to the Church of La Charite 
on the Loire, in which the Corona 
Ecclfsie is mentioned,' Mr. John 
Gough Nichols has likewise sought 

to tl'.c Church of Canterbury." He cites, 
however, no other evidence of its use, 
except that above mentioned, given 
amongst the additions made by the Bene- 
dictines to Ducange's Glossary. " Co- 
rofui EicUsiir, f. Pars Templi choro 
jwstica, quod ea p.-irs fere desinat in cir- 
culum. Charta aimi 1170, in TabuUrio 
B. Marine de Ch.aritate: Due ttlf.itia it; 
Corona Ecclesur." "The Conu.i may 
also mean the aisle which often circum- 
scribes the east end of an apsid.d church, 
and which, with its radiating chapels. 

Documents in the Treasury at Canterbury, 273 

to refute as " a popular error, into 
which many writers have fallen," 
the misconception, which was as 
old, he remarks, as Archbishop 
Parker, that the head of St. Thomas 
was preserved in that part of the 
Cathedral called Becket's Crown.' 
The earliest mention of the Coro- 
fitty as I believe, is in the Registers 
of Henry de Estria, prior of Can- 
terbury, in the enumeration of the 
" Nova Opera in Ecclesia " in his 
times. Under the year 13 14 is the 
entry — " Pro corona sancti Thome 
auro et argento et lapidibus preci- 
osis ornanda, ex v. li. xij. s." In 
the same year the Prior provided a 
new crest of gold for tlie Shrine.^ 
The same record comprises a list of 
the relics in the cathedral, amongst 
which are mentioned — "Corpus 
Sancti Odonis, in feretro, ad coro- 
nam versus austrum. — Corpus 
Sancti Wilfridi, in feretro, ad coro- 
nam versus aquilonem." It seems 
improbable that this large expendi- 
ture in precious metals and gems' 
should relate to the apsidal chapel, 
according to Professor Willis's ex- 
planation of the term Corona^ no 
portion of the building being spe- 
cified to which such costly decora- 
tion was applied. The expression 
would rather imply, as I conceive. 

the enrichment of some precious 
object, such as 2. phylacterium scri- 
nium, feretory, or the like, described 
as "Corona sancti Thome." The 
phrase **^(/ coronam," moreover, 
in the list of relics, can scarcely, I 
would submit, signify that the 
bodies of St. Odo and St. Wilfrid 
were placed in a building or chapel 
called Corona, but rather implies 
that they were placed adjacent to 
some object known as Corona, at 
its north and south sides, respec- 
tively ; thus also in the context we 
find other reliques placed *^ ad 
altare," whilst others are described 
as " in navi Ecclesie," etc. 

The Corona, like the Shrine, 
the martirinm and tumba, was in 
charge of a special oiRcer, called 
the " Custos Corone beati Thome," 
and mention also occurs of the 
•'Magister Corone," apparently 
the same official. In a *' Book of 
Accounts " of one of the officers of 
the Monastery, preserved in the 
Chapter Library, the following 
entries occur under the head of 
•* Oblaciones cum obvencionibus." 

"De Custode Corone beati 
Thome, xl.s. 

"Denarii recepti pro vino con- 
venlus. — Item, de Custodibus 
Feretri Sancti Thome, xxx.s. 

may be .said to crown its eastern ex- 
tremity" (p. 141). It is said that the 
eastern apx represents the glory or 
" nimbus " at the liead of the crucifix, as 
the cruciform thapc of the rest of the 
cathedral represents the cross. [Hut sec 
the passage from Eadmer quoted p. 376. 
-A. P. S.] 

> Pilgrimages to Walsinjham and 
Canterbury, p. 119. Mr. John NichoU, 

in his Royal Wills, p. 70, adojdcd tlic 
popular opinion. The altar where the 
Saint's liead was, he remarks, " was pro- 
bably in tliut part of the Cathedral called 
Deckct's Crown." 

' Register 1. 11, fol. aia, Canterbury 
Treasury ; Register of Prior Henry, Colt. 
MS., Galba K. TV, 14, fol. 103. 

' Dart, Appendix, p. xlii. 

274 Documents in the Treasury at Canterbury. 

Item, de Custode Corone Sancti 
Thome, XX.S. Item, de Custode 
Tumbe beati Thome, iij.s. iiij.d. 
Item, de Custode Martirii Sancti 
Thome, iij.s. iiij.d. Item, de Cus- 
tode beate Marie in cryptis," etc, 
30 Henr. VI. (1451).* 

There were, it appears, three 
objects of especial veneration— the 
feretrum in the chapel of the Holy 
Trinity, the punctwn ensis in the 
Martyrdom, and the caput beati 
Thome. At each there was an altar. 
The Black Prince bequeathed 
tapestry to three altars, besides the 
High Altar, namely, "I'autier la 
ou Mons'r Saint Thomas gist, — 
I'autier la ou la teste est, — I'autier 
la ou la poynte de Tespie est." 

The authority of Erasmus seems 
conclusive that the caput was shown 
in the crypt. After inspecting the 
cuspis gladii in the Martyrdom, 
Erasmus says : — ** Hinc digressi 
subimus cryptoporticum : ea habet 
suos mystagogos : illic primura ex- 
hibetur caKaria martyris perforata ; 
reliqua tecta sunt argento, summa 
cranii pars nuda patet osculo." 

I have been induced to offer 
these notices, from the conviction 
that the apsidal chapel called 
Becket's Crown, received that 
name from some precious object 
connected with the cultiis of St. 
Thomas of Canterbury, or from 
some peculiar feature of its decora- 
tions. This notion obviously sug- 
gests itself, that such an object may 
have been the reliquary in which 
the corona ^' or upper portion of the 
cranium, cut off by the savage 
stroke of Richard le Breton, was 
placed apart from the skull itself. 
This supposition, however, seems 
to be set aside by the inscription 
accompanying the drawing in Cot- 
ton MS. Tib. E. VIII. fol. 286, 
b., of which an accurate copy has 
been given in this volume. The 
MS. suffered from fire in 1731, 
and the following words only arc 
now legible. "This chest of iron 

cont bones of 

Thomas Becket all 

with the wounde 

and the pece cut " 

Thus rendered on Vaughan's plate, 

1 MSS, in the Chapter Library, 
volume marked E. 6, fol. 33. Amongst 
the few evidences of thii nature which 
have escaped destruction may be men- 
tioned a curious Book of Accounts of 
William Inggram, Custos of the Mar- 
tirium, MS. C. 11. It contains much 
Information regarding the books in the 
library of the Monaster}', and other 

' C0>\mn properly designated tJic 
circle of hair left on the priest's head by 
the tonsure. " Fit corona ex ra';ura in 
■ummitate capitis, et tonsiooe capillorum 
ill parte cajntis inferiore, et sic circulus 
capillorum uropric dicitur corona." — 

Lyndwood. " The hair was shorn from 
the top of the head, more or less wide, 
according as the wearer happened to 
be high or low in order." — Dr. Rock's 
Church of our Fathers, voL i. p. 187. 
The word is used in the accounts of 
Becket's murder to describe the upper 
part of the skull, or brain-pan. Thus 
Fitzstcphen says, "Corona capitis tota 
ei amputata est ; " and he describes tlie 
savage act of Hugh de Horse.i^" a con- 
CAvitale coronse amputatac cum muaronc 
cruorem et cerebrum citrahcbat."— Ed. 
Sparkes, p. 87. Diceto states that 
B«dcet received his death-wound "lo 
corona capitis." — Ang. Sacra, ii. p. 691. 

Documents in the Treasury at Canterbury. 275 

engraved from this drawing when 
it was in a more perfect state (Dug- 
dale, Monast. Angl., vol. i. p. 18, 
orig. edit., printed in 1655). — 
'* Loculus ille, quem vides ferreum, 
ossa Tho : Becketti cum calvaria 
necnon rupta ilia cranii parte quae 
mortem inferebat complectebatur."* 
It has been questioned whether 
any altar existed in Becket's 
Crown. The original stones still 
remaining on the raised platform 
at this extreme east end of the 
church still present traces of some 
arrangement which does not ap- 
pear to indicate the position of an 
altar, but rather of some railing, 
or clattsura, which may have pro- 
tected the object of veneration 
there displayed. No clue appears 
to direct the enquiry as to its 
character, with the exception of 
the brief notice of Erasmus, who 
seems to allude to Becket's Crown 
when speaking of the upper church 
behind the high altar :-^"Illic in 
sacello quodam ostenditur tota 
facies optimi viri inaurata, multis- 
que gemmis insignita." May not 
this have been an image of St. 
Thomas, or one of those gorgeously 
enriched busts, of life-size, covered 
with precious metals and richly 
jewelled, a class of reliquaries, of 
which remarkable examples still 
exist in many continental churches? 
Such a reliquary existed in 1295 
at St Paul's, London, and is de- 

1 On comparing this drawini; with 
Stow** account of the removal of Becket's 
thrine, it seems almost certain that this 
lontliu ferreut, shown with the shrine 
in the Cotton MS., was the "chest of 
yron cunteyaing tlie bones uf Thomas 

scribed in an inventory given by 
Dugdale as ** Capud S. Athel- 
berti Regis in capsa argentea deau- 
rata, facta ad modum capitis Regis 
cum corona continente in circulo 
xvi. lapides majores," etc. 

In conclusion I will only invite 
attention to the probability that 
a capsa of this description, highly 
suitable to receive so remarkable a 
relique as the corona of Becket's 
skull, separate from the other re- 
mains of the saint, may have been 
displayed in the apsidal chapel 
thence designated ** Becket's 
Crown." If it be sought to con- 
trovert such a supposition by 
the conflicting evidence of the 
Cotton MS. o! Erasmus' Col- 
loquy, or of S tow's Annals, it can 
only be said that it is as imprac- 
ticable to reconcile such discre- 
pancies, as to explain the triple 
heads of St. John the Baptist 
The royal declaration of 1539 re- 
cords that Becket's "head almost 
hole was found with the rest of the 
bones closed within the shryne, 
and that there was in that church, 
a great skull of another head, but 
much greater by three-quarter 
parts than that part which was 
lacking in the head closed within 
the shryne." [A passage has been 
pointed out to me in Eadmer's 
Hist. Nov., ii. p. 92, where, de- 
scribing the difficulty ot determin- 
ing the place of the Archbishop of 

Becket, skull and all, with the wounde 
of hi-s death, and the pcece cut out of his 
scull layde in the s.-ime wound." This 
chest is distinctly said by Stow to have 
been within the shrine. See p. aoi. 

276 Documents in the Treasury at Canterbury, 

Canterbury (Anselm) then for the honoris in tali conventu solet hab- 

first time appearing in a Roman eri." This confirms Professor 

council, he says, " in coroiiA sedes Willis's view. — A. P. S.] 
illi posita est, qui locus non obscuri 

III. — Miraculous Cures at the Shrine of St. Thomas. (See pp. 

187, 2^\. 

The contemporary writers are 
diffuse in the enumeration of the 
maladies for which a remedy was 
sought by multitudes from the 
reliques of St. Thomas, and the 
miracles effected. Ger\ase states 
that two volumes of such miracles 
were extant at Cantcrbuiy. 

Having been favoured with 
unusual facilities of access to the 
ancient registers and evidences 
presei"ved in the Treasury,^ in 
searching for materials which 
might throw light upon the sub- 
jects to which this volume relates, 
I liave been surprised at the ex- 
treme paucity of information re- 
t^arding Becket, or any part of the 
church specially connected with 
the veneration shown towards him. 
Scarcely is an item to be found 
in the various Rolls of Account 
making mention of St. Thomas, 
and where his name occurred, it 
has, for the most part, been care- 
fully erased. With the exception 
of certain Papal Bulls, and some 
communication regarding Canter- 
bury Jubilees, tlie name is scarcely 
to be found in the long series of 
registers. We seek in vain for 

any schedule of the accumulated 
wealth which surrounded his 
shrine : even in the long inventory 
of plate and vestments left in 1540 
by the Commissioner after the 
surrender, "till the king's pleasure 
be further declared," and sub- 
scribed by Cranmer's own hand, 
the words, ** Storye of Thomas 
Beket,' in the description of a 
piece of embroidered velvet, are 
blotted out. It is remarkable to 
notice the pains bestowed on the 
destruction of everything which 
might revive any memory of the 

The following extracts from the 
registers have appeared to claim 
attention, because they are the 
only records of their class which 
have been found. A royal letter 
is not without interest, whatever 
may be its subject, and it is re- 
markable to find Richard II. con- 
gratulating the Primate on the 
good influence anticipated from a 
fresh miracle at the Shrine of 
Becket, in counteracting the doc- 
trine of WycklyfTe, or the perilous 
growth of Lollardism. The sub- 
ject of the miracle appears to have 

* It is with much gratification thai I and of other members of tlic Chapter, in 

would record the acknowledgment of tlie the liberal permission to prosecute my 

kindness of the Very Rev. the Dean investig.ation of the^e valuable materials 

Lyall, the Vcn. Archdeacon Harriaoa, for local and general history.— A. W. 

Documents in the Treasury at Cajiterbmy. 277 

been a foreigner, probably of dis- 
tinction : but I found no clue to 
identify who the person may have 

The second of these documents 
appears to be a kind of encyclical 
certificate of a noted cure miracu- 
lously effected in the person of a 
young Scotchman, Alexander, son 
of Stephen of Aberdeen ; and 
it is remarkable as showing the 
widely spread credence in the 
efficacy of a pilgrimage to St. 
Thomas, and the singular formality 
with which it was thought expedi- 
ent to authenticate and publish the 

This document moreover states 
that St. Thomas having (with the 
succour of Divine clemency) re- 
stored to the said Alexander the 
use of his feet, he proceeded, in 
pursuance of his vow, to the Holy 
Blood of Wilsnake, and returned 
safe and sound to the shrine of the 
Martyr. I am not aware that 
mention has been made by English 
writers of the celebrated relique 
formerly preserved at Wilsnake, in 
Prussia ; and, although not con- 
nected with Canterbury, a brief 
account of the origin of this pil- 
grimage, which appears to have 
been much in vogue in our own 
country, may not be inadmissible 
in these notes. I am indebted to 
the learned biographer of Alfred, 
Dr. Pauli, for directing my atten- 

• An account of Wilsnack is given by 
Stenzel, in his " Geschichte dcs Prcus- 
nschen Staats," torn. i. p. 175. 

• Leaden signs, or signacula repre- 
tentinK the bleeding wafers, were dis- 
tributed to pilgrims, in like manner as 

tion to Wilsnake and the curious 
legend of the Holy Blood. 

Wilsnack, or Wilsnake, is a 
small town in the north parts of 
the Mark of Brandenburg.' In 
times of popular commotion, in 
1383, the town, with its church, 
was burnt. The priest, Crantzius, 
relates, having been recalled by a 
vision to perform mass in the 
ruined fabric, foimd the altar 
standing, the candles upon it, and 
between them, in a napkin or cor- 
poral, three consecrated hosts, 
united into one and stained with 
blood. Another accounts states, 
that, searching amongst the ashes 
near the altar, he discovered the 
bleeding wafers. The priest has- 
tened to his diocesan, the Bishop 
of Havelberg : he came with his 
clergy and certified this miracle, 
which was forthwith proclaimed 
far and near. Before the close cf 
the century, innumerable pilgrims 
visited the place, kings and princes 
sent costly gifts, and Pope Urban 
VI. promulgated indulgences to 
the faithful who repaired thither.'' 
From all quarters, says Crantzius, 
votaries came in crowds — from 
Hungary, France, England, Scot- 
land, Denmark, Sweden, Nor- 
way. The fixme of the relique may 
have quickly spread to our own 
island, as M. Pauli observes, 
through the numerous English 
knights who, about that time, 

the ampulla of St. Iliomas, or tlie 
mitred heads, tokens of their journey to 
Canterbury, as mentioned in this volume, 
pp. 225, 227. Several signs of St. Tliomas 
arc represented in Mr. Roach Smith's Col- 
lectanea, vol. i. p. 83 ; vol. ii. pp. 46-49. 

K 2 

278 Documents in the Treasury at Canterbury. 

traversed the north of Europe to 
join the Teutonic knights in 

The miracle it is alleged, soon 
engiossed so much attention that 
neighbouring churches where noted 
reliques were preserved became 
neglected. Inquiry was instituted, 
and the Archbishop of Prague 
sent a deputy to investigate the 
matter, no less a person than John 
Huss, who, with the fearless spirit 
of the Reformer, exposed the 
abuses practised at Wilsnake. 
He wrote a remarkable treatise on 
superstitions of the same nature in 
various places.* In 1400, the 
learned Wunschebergius also as- 
sailed the feigned miracles of 
Wilsnake, and an eminent canon 
of Magdeburg put forth a Philippic 
agains*; the prelate who tolerated 
such pious frauds for lucre's sake. 
It was, however, of no avail ; the 
Bishop of riavelberg sustained his 
suit at Rome with energy ; the 
Papal approbation was renewed ; 
the credit of the Holy Blood was 
confirmed by the Councils of Con- 
stance and Basle. 

In the sixteenth century, Mat- 
thew Ludecus, Dean of Ilavcl- 
berg, compiled the history of this 
superstition. There was, he re- 

lates, a large balance suspended 
in the church of Wilsnake. In 
one scale it was usual to place the 
pilgrim who sought remission of 
his offences ; in the other were 
piled his oblations, bread and 
flesh, perhaps cheese, or other 
homely offerings. If the visitor 
seemed wealthy, no impression 
was made on the beam ; the priest 
affirming that indeed he must be 
a grievous offender, whose crimes 
could not be expiated without 
more valuable oblations. At 
length by some secret contriv- 
ance, the scale was permitted to 

Huss has narrated a character- 
istic anecdote of the miraculous 
fallacies of Wilsnake. A citizen 
of Prague, Petrziko de Ach, 
afTected with a wthered arm, 
offered a silver hand, and desiring 
to discover what the priests would 
put forth concerning his costly 
gift, he tarried till the third day, 
and repaired unnoticed to the 
church. As it chanced, the priest 
was in the pulpit, declaiming to 
the assembled votaries, " Audite 
pueri miraculuml" — "Behold, a 
citizen of Prague has been healed 
by the Holy Blood, and see here 
how he hath offered a silver hand 

I The " Holy Blood" of our Lord was 
believed to exist in various places, of 
which Mantua was the most celebrated. 
M. Paris relates that Henry HI, pre- 
sented to the monks of Westminster in 
1347 some of the blood shed at the cruci- 
fixion, which he had received from the 
Master of the Templars. The F.arl of 
Cornwall gave a portion to Haylcs Abbey, 
a reliqMC much celebrated, and to whicJi 

allusion is made by Chaucer. He gave a 
portion to the College of Bons Hommcs 
at Ashrid^e, near to Bcrkhampstead. It 
was exhibited by the Bishop of Rochester, 
at Paul's Cross, in 1538, and proved to be 
honey coloured with saflron. 

' A curious woodcut representing this 
proceeding, is given by Wolfius, in hii 
"Lcctioncs Memorabiles," p. 619. 

Documents in the Treasury at Canterbury. 279 

in testimony of his cure I " But 
the sufferer, standing up, with arm 
upraised, exclaimed, *' Oh, priest, 
what falsehood is this I Behold my 
hand, still withered as before." 
"Of this," observes Huss, "his 
friends and kinsmen at Prague are 
witnesses to this day." 

It was only in 1551 that Joa- 
chim Elfeldt, becoming pastor of 
the church, being imbued with the 
Reformed faith, put an end to the 
superstition, and committed the 
wafers to the flames. The canons 
of Havelberg, indignant that their 
gains were gone, threw him into 
prison and sought to bring him to 
the stake, but he was rescued by 
the Elector of Brandenburg. 

A. W. 

Litera domini Regis graciosa 
missa domino archiepiscopo, re- 
graciando sibi de novo miraculo 
Sancti Thome Martiris sibi denun- 
ciato.^ {Circa A.D. 1393, temp. 
Rich. II.) 

{Register of Christ Churchy Canter' 
bury, R. \% fol 15.) 

Tresreverent piere en dieu et 
nostro trescher Cosyn, nous vous 
saloioms trcsovent denter coer, 
vous ensauntz savoir qe a la fes- 
aunce de cestes noz lettres nous 
estoioms en bone sancte, merciez 
ent soit nostre seignour, et avoms 
tresgraunt desyr de trestout nostre 

* This letter was written, as may be 
Buppoicd from the place in which it is 
found in the Regibtcr, and the dates of 
document! accompanying if, about a.d. 
1-J93. If this conjecture be correct, it 
wa* addressed by Richard II. to William 

coer davoir de vous sovent novelles 
semblables, des quex vous priomos 
{sic) cherement qacercer nous vuil- 
lez de temps en temps au pluis 
sovent qe vous purrez bonement 
pur nostre graunt confort et sin- 
guler plesaunce. Si vous merci- 
oms trescher Cosyn tresperfitement 
de coer de voz lettres, et avons 
presentement envoyez, et par espe- 
cial quen si bref nous avetz certe- 
fiez du miracle quore tarde avint 
en vostre esglise au seynt feretre 
du glorious martir Seint Thomas, 
et avoms, ce nous est avis tres- 
grant et excellente cause et nous et 
vous de ent mercier lui haut sover- 
ayn mostre (?) des miracles, qui 
ceste miracle ad pleu monstrer 
en noz temps, et en une persone 
estraunge, sicome pur extendre as 
parties estraungez et lointeines la 
gloriouse deisou' verray martyr 
susdit. Nous semble parmi ce qe 
nous sumes treshautemens tenuz de 
luy leer et ent rendre merciz et 
graci^, et si le voiloms faire parmi 
sa grace de nostre enter pocr 
sauntz feintise ; especialment vous 
enpriauntz qe paraillement de 
vostre fait le vuillez faire a honour 
de luy de qui sourde tout bien et 
honour, et au bone example de 
touz noz subgestez. Et verramient 
trcschier Cosyn nous avoms tres- 
perfit espiraunce qen temps de 
nous et de vous serront noz noblez 
et seyntes predecessours pluis glori- 

Courtcnay, Archbiiliop of Canterbury 
from 1381 to 1396. 

' This passage is apparently incom- 
plete, or incorrectly copied into the 
Register. The sense may, however, be 
easily gathered from the context. 

28o Docjiments vi tfie Treasury at Canterbury, 

fiez qe devant longe temps nont 
estez, dont le cause veriseniblable 
qe nous moeve est celle quen noz 
temps, ceste assavoir de present, 
noz foie et creaunce ount plusours. 
enemys qe dc temps hors de me- 
morie navoient, les quex par la 
mercie de mercie {sic) de Jhesu 
Crist et ces gloriousez miracles 
serount a ce qe nous creouns de 
lour erroure convertyz a voie de 
salue ; celui dieu de sa haute puis- 
saunce lottroie a la glorie de luy 
et de toutz seyntz, et h salvacioun 
de soen poeple universele. Tres- 
cher Cosyn de vous vouellez, et de 
tout quamque vous vorrez auxi 
devers vous nous certcfiez pur 
nostra amour, sachauntz qe nous 
vorroms tresvolunters faire tout ce 
qa honour vous purra touraer et 
plesir. Et le seynt esprit vou eit 
en sa garde. Done souz nostre 
signet, a nostre Chastelle de Corf, 
le vij. jour daugst. 

De quodam miraculo ostenso ad 
feretrum beati Thome Cantua- 
riensis. Litcra Testimonialis 
(A.D. 1445.) 

{Rfgisicr oj Christ Churchy Canter- 
bury, R. i%fol. 163.) 

Universis sancte matris ecclesie 
fdiis ad quos presentes litcre nostre 
pervenerint, Johannes permissione 
divina prior Ecclesie Christi Can- 
tuariensis,' et cjusdem loci Capitu- 
lum, Salutcm et semper in domino 

gloriari. Cum fidelis quilibet 
Christicola divine majestatis cultor 
de mirifica Dei clemencia gloriari et 
mente extolli tenetur, apostolica 
sic dictante sententia, " Qui gloria- 
tur in domini glorietur," ' in Dei 
ludis magnificenciam ore eat men- 
te undique provocamur, turn im- 
mensis operibus suis operator est 
semper Deus mirabilis et in sanct- 
orum suorum miraculis coruscans 
gloriosus. Unde, cum nuper in 
nostra sancta tocius Anglie metro- 
poli novum et stupendum per 
divine operacionis clemenciam in 
meritis sancti martiris Thome Can- 
tuariensis expertisumus miraculum, 
Deum laudare et ejus potenciam 
glorificare obligamur, quam totus 
orbis terrarum ympnis et laudibus 
devote laudare non cessat. Nam 
cum AUexander Stephani filius in 
Scocia, de Aberdyn oppido natus, 
pedibus contractus vigintiquator 
annis ab ortu suo penaliter labora- 
bat,' ad instanciam cujusdam ma- 
trone votum ad Feretrum sancti 
Thome emittens, per grandia 
laborum vehicula cum ceterorum 
impotencium instruraenlis, supra 
genua debilia ad feretrum pre- 
dictum pcrvenit, ibique beatus 
Thomas, divina opitulante clemen- 
cia, secundo die mensis Mail 
proximi ante datum presentium, 
bases et plantas eidem Allexandro 
ilico restituit. Et in voti sui 
deinde complementum ad sangui- 
nem sanctum de Wilsnake, divino 

' John Salisbury, who became Prior tained by pilgrims, Fitzstcphen specially 

in H37» *"d died in 1446' mentions "contractis membronim linea 

» 1 Corinth, i. 31. menta extensa et directa sunt.— Vila S. 

• Amongst the miraculous aires ob- Thome, ed. Sparkes, p. 90. 

Crescent in the roof of Trinity Chapel. 281 

permittente auxilio, sanus et firmus 
adiit, et in martiris sui Thome 
merito ad feretrum illius prospere 
revenit. Nos igitur, divine majes- 
tatis gloriam sub ignorancie tene- 
bris latitare nolentes, sad super 
fidei tectum predicare affectantes, 
ut Christi cunctis fidelibus veleat 
undique coniscare, ea que de jure 
ad probacionem requirentur mira- 
culi, sub Sacramento dicti Allex- 
andri necnon aliorum fide dignorum 
de oppido predicto, videlicet Alex- 
ander Arat generosi, Robertique 
filii David, et Johannis Thome filii, 
legitime comprobato, in nostra 

sancta Cantuariensi ecclesia fecimus 
solempniter publicari. Unde uni- 
versitati supplicamus literas pei 
presentes quatinus dignetis Deura 
laudare de (?) sancto martire ejus 
Thorna Cantuariensi, in cujus 
meritis ecclesiam suam unicam sibi 
sponsam in extirpacionem heresum 
et errorum variis miraculis pluribus 
decursis temporibus mirlfice hucus- 
que decoravit. In cujus rei testi- 
monium, &c. Dat' Cantuaria in 
domo nostra Capitulari, xxvij."* 
die Mensis Julii, Anno Domini 
Millesimo ccc"". xlv*". 



CATHEDRAL. (See p. 222.) 

The Crescent in the roof of 
Canterbury Cathedral, above the 
Shrine of Becket, has given rise to 
much perplexity. One obvious 
solution has often been sought in 
the comparatively modern legend 
of Becket's Saracen mother. An- 
other theory has referred the Cres- 
cent to the cultus of the Virgin, 
who is often represented (in allusion 
to Rev. xii. i) as standing on the 
moon. The emblem, it is thought, 
might have been appropriate in this 
place, both as occupying the usual 
site of the Lady Chapel, and as 
containing the tomb of one who 
considered himself under her special 
patronage. A third conjecture 
supposes the Crescent lohave been 
put up by the Crusaders in refer- 

ence to the well-known title of 
Becket, " St. Thomas of Acre,'' 
and to the success which his inter- 
cession was supposed to have 
achieved in driving the Saracens 
out of that fortress. If so, it pos- 
sesses more than a local interest, 
as a proof that the Crescent was 
already the emblem of the Selju- 
kian Turks, long before the capture 
ofConstantinople, which is assigned 
by Von Hammer as the date of the 
assumption of the Crescent by the 
Turkish power. — A. P. S. 

In confirmation of this last view 
are subjoined the following inter- 
esting remarks of Mr. George 
Austin, founded on actual inspec- 
tion : — 

'* Much difficulty has been found 


Crescent in the Roof of 

In attempting to account for the 
presence of this crescent in the roof 
of the Trinity Chapel. Even if the 
legend of Becket's mother had ob- 
tained credence at that early period, 
it may be observed that in the 
painted windows around, no refer- 
ence is made to the subject, though 
evidently capable of so much pic- 
torial effect. But there are other 
difficulties which suggest another 

* ' I have always believed it to 
have been one of a number of tro- 
phies which, in accordance with a 
well-known custom of the time, 
once adorned this part of the Cathe- 
dral, and I have been governed by 
tlie following reasons. First, that 
more than one fresco painting of 
encounters'with the Eastern infidels 
formerly ornamented the walls 
(the last traces of which were re- 
moved during the restoration of the 
Cathedral under Dean Percy, after- 
A\ards Bishop of Carlisle), and in 
one of which the green crescent 
flag of the enemy seems borne 
away by English archers. Might 
not these frescoes have depicted 
llie fights in which these tro]:)hies 
were won ? Secondly, that when 
the groined roof was relieved of the 
long accumulated coats of white- 
wash and repaired, some six-and- 
thirty years since, the crescent was 
taken down and re-gilt. It was 
found to be made of a foreign wood, 
somewhat like in grain to the east- 
ern wood known by the name of 
iron- wood. It had been fastened 
to the groining by a large nail of 
very singular shape, with a large 

square head, apparently of foreign 

" In the hollows of the groin- 
ing which radiate from the crescent 
were a number of slight iron staples 
(the eyes of which were about i \ 
inch in diameter) driven into the 
ceiling, and about I2 inches farther 
from the crescent were a number of 
other staples about the same dia- 
meter, but projecting 4 or 5 inches 
from the ceiling ; many of tliese 
had been removed, and all bore 
traces of violence. Now if the use 
of these staples could be accurately 
defmed, it would, I think, demon- 
strate the origin of the crescent. 
They could only have been used, I 
think, either to attach to the ceil- 
ing the cords by which the wood 
canopy of the shrine was raised, or 
suspend the lamps which doubtless 
were hung around tlie shrine below, 
or else to suspend trophies of which 
the crescent was the centre. But 
I believe there is little doubt that 
the shrine was not placed immedi- 
ately beneath the centre of these 
rings of staples, but more to the 
westward. But if not so placed, 
the canopy was doubtless raised by 
a pulley attached to the ceiling by 
one cord, and not by a web of up- 
wards of twenty, and in addition to 
this, the stajDles were attached so 
slightly to the roof that they would 
not even have borne the weight of 
a cord alone, of the length sufficient 
to reach tlie pavement. And it 
does not seem likely that small 
lamps singly suspended from the 
groining would have been arranged 
in two small concentric circles, the 

Miraculous Cures. 


inner only 2 J feet in diameter, and 
the exterior but 4J. Had this 
form been desired, the ancient form 
of chandelier would have been 

" These staples then could not 
have been used for those purposes, 
but it will be seen that they are 
singularly well adapted for display- 
ing some such trophy as a flag or 
spear, for which no great strength 

was requisite, and the position and 
peculiar form of the staples favour 
the supposition, as the diagram 
shows, A being the short staple and 
B the long one. 

*' According to this view the 
crescent would have formed the 
appropriate centre of a circle of 
flags, horsetails, etc., in the manner 
attempted to be shown in the ac- 
companying sketch. G. A." 


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL. (See pp. 187, 257.) 

*' The space left between the 
slender groups of pillars round the 
Trinity Chapel has been so entirely 
filled with windows, that it appears 
like a single zone of light, and the 
eflect must have been magnificent 
when every window was filled with 
painted glass. 

** Of these, unfortunately, but 
three remain, but they are sufQcient 
to attest their rare beauty ; and for 
excellence of drawing, harmony of 
colouring, and purity of design, arc 
justly considered unequalled. The 
skill with which the minute figures 
are represented cannot even at this 
day be surpassed ; it is extraordi- 
nary to see how every feeling of 
joy or sorrow, pain and enjoyment, 
is expressed both in feature and 
position ; and even in the repre- 
sentation of the innumerable ills and 
diseases which were cured at the 
Martyr's Shrine, in no single case 
do wc meet with any offence against 
good taste, by which the eye is so 

frequently shocked in the cathedrals 
of Bourges, Troyes, and Chartres. 
But in nothing is the superiority of 
these windows shown more than 
the beautiful scrolls and borders 
which surround the windows, and 
gracefully connect the groups of 

" Unfortunately, the windows 
throughout the Cathedral, besides 
the efifects of the decree of Henry 
VIII. (mentioned in p. 245), 
were, during the troubles of the 
Civil Wars, destroyed as high as a 
man could reach up with a pike, at 
which time every figure of a priest 
or bishop was relentlessly broken. 
These windows, like everything 
else around, seem to have aided in 
paying homage to the Saint, upon 
whose shrine their tinted shadows 
fell. They were filled with illus- 
trations of the miracles said to have 
been performed by the Saint after 
his death. Three, as has been 
said, still remain, and fragments of 


Miraculous Cures at the 

otheis are scattered through the 

** As these windows were very 
similar in arrangement, it will be 
sufficient to describe one of them, 
that towards the east on the north 
of the Shrine. 

** The space of this window has 
been divided into geometric pat- 
terns, each pattern consisting of a 
group of nine medallions, and each 
of these groups has contained the 
illustration of one or more of the 
most iiTiportant miracles said to 
have been performed at the Shrine 
of the Saint. 

"This window has at some 
time been taken down, and the 
lights or medallions replaced with- 
out the slightest regard to their 
proper position, and the groups of 
subjects are separated and inter- 
mixed throughout the windows. 

'' The lower group of medal- 
lions has been filled by illustrations 
of a miracle, described by Bene- 
dict,* where a child is miraculously 
restored to life by means of the 
Saint's blood mixed wilh water, 
after having been drowned in the 
Mcdway — the body having been 
hours m the water. Unfortunately, 
but three of these medallions have 
escaped. In the first medallion, 
the boys are seen upon the banks 
of the Medway pelting the frogs in 
the sedges along the stream with 
stones and sticks, whilst the son is 
falling into the stream. In the 
next, his comin\nions are shown 
relating the accident, wilh hurried 

• A group representing the Martyr- 
dom remains In the window of the S. 
Transept of Christ Church Cathedral, 
Oxford. liecket's head has been rc- 

gestures, to his parents at the door 
of their house. And in the third, 
we are again taken to the banks 
of the stream, where the parents 
stand gazing in violent grief upon 
the body of their son, which is be- 
ing extracted from the water by a 
servant. The landscape in these 
medallions is exceedingly well ren- 
dered ; the trees are depicted with 
great grace." 

In the next group was por- 
trayed a miracle or rather succes- 
sion of miracles. [The story, which 
is graphically told by Benedict, is 
as follows : — *' The household of a 
distinguished knight, Jordan, son 
of Eisulf, was struck with sickness. 
Amongst others died first the nurse 
of his son, and then the son him- 
self, a boy of ten years old. Mass 
was said — the body laid out — the 
parents were in hopeless grief. It 
so happened that there arrived, 
that day, a band of twenty pilgrims 
from Canterbury, whom Jordan 
hospitably lodged, from old affec- 
tion's sake of the Martyr, whom he 
had intimately known. The arri- 
val of the pilgrims recalled this 
friendship,— and * his heart,* he 
said, * assured him so positively of 
the Martyr's repugnance to the 
death of his son,' that he would 
not allow the body to be buried. 
Yxovsx the pilgrims he borrowed 
some of the diluted water so often 
mentioned, and bade the priest 
pour it into the boy's mouth. This 
was done without cflect. He then 
himself uncovered the body, raised 

moved. — A. P. S. 

• Benedicti tU Mttaculis S. Tkattim 
Cantuar., iii. c. 6i. See pp. 6i, 317. 

Shrine of St. Thomas. 


the head, forced open the teeth 
with a knife, and poured in a small 
draught. A small spot of red 
showed itself on the left cheek of 
the boy. A third draught was 
poured down the throat. The boy 
opened one eye and said, * Why 
are you weeping, father ? — Why are 
you crying, lady? — The blessed 
martyr Thomas has restored me to 
you.' He was then speechless till 
evening. The father put into his 
hands four pieces of silver, to bean 
offering to the Martyr before Mid- 
lent, and the parents sate and 
watched him. At evening, he sate 
up, ate, talked, and was restored. 
"But the vow was forgotten, 
and on this a second series of won- 
ders occurred. A leper three miles 
off was roused from his slumber by 
a voice calling him by name, 
' Guirp, why sleepest thou ? ' He 
rose, asked who called him — was 
told that it was Thomas, Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, and that he 
must go and warn the knight Jor- 
dan, son of Eisulf, of the evils that 
would befall him unless he instantly 
fulfilled his vow. The leper, after 
some delay and repetitions of the 
vision, sent for the priest ; the 
priest refused to convey so idle a 
tale. St. Thomas appeared again, 
and ordered the leper to send his 
daughter for the knight and his 
wife. They came, heard, wondered, 
and fixed the last week in Lent for 
the performance of the vow. Un- 
forttmately, a visit from the Lord 
Warden put it out of their heads. 
On the last day of the last week— 
that is, on Eastcr-evc — they were 
suddenly startled by the illness of 

the eldest son, which terminated 
fatally on the Friday after Easter. 
The parents fell sick at the same 
time, and no less than twenty of 
the household. The knight and 
his wife were determined at all 
hazard to accomplish their vow. 
By a violent effort — aided by the 
sacred water — they set off; the 
servants by a like exertion dragging 
themselves to the gate to see them 
depart. The lady fell into a swoon 
no less than seven times from the 
fatigue of the first day — but at the 
view of the towers of Canterbury 
Cathedral she dismounted, and 
with her husband and son, barefoot, 
walked for the remaining three 
miles into Canterbury, and then 
the vow was discharged." 

This story, Benedict says, he 
received in a private letter from the 
priest.*— A. P. S.] 

" In the first compartment we 
see the funeral of the nurse. The 
body, covered by a large yellow 
pall, is borne on a bier carried by 
four men. At the head walks the 
priest, clothed in a white close-fit- 
ting robe, adorned with a crimson 
chasuble, bearing in his right hand 
a book, and in his left the brush 
for sprinkling holy water. He is 
follovved by a second priest, in a 
green dress, bearing a huge lighted 
taper ; the legend at foot runs 
thus, ' Niitricis funus reliquis sui 
Jlacra jninatur.^ The next medal- 
lion represents the son at the point 
of death stretched on a bier. The 
priest at the head anoints the body 
with holy water, and on the fore- 
head of the child is the Viaticum or 
Sacred Wafer, On a raised bench 

• Brnedict, iii. 6a. 


Miraculous Cures at the 

at the side sits the mother absorbed 
in deep grief, and by her side the 
father, wringing his hands and 
gazing sorrowfully at his expiring 
child ; the legend attached is, 

* Percutitur puer moritur pla7ictus 
geminatur^ In the next compart- 
ment of the group, the mother 
stands at the head of the bier, rais- 
ing and supporting her son's head, 
whilst the father pours between the 
clenched lips the wonder-working 
blood and water of St. Thomas, 
A short distance from the bier stand 
the pilgrims, reverently gazingj upon 
the scene, each with his pilgrim's 
staff and bottle of ' water of St. 
Thomas ; ' the legend at foot runs, 

* Vox pat f is — vis martins iii restit- 
7iatiir.* The vow so fatally de- 
layed forms the subject of the next 
medallion. The boy, still reclining 
on the bier ; the mother, caressing 
her son with one hand, whilst with 
the other outstretched she gives to 
the father the ' Quatuor argenteos,' 
which he demands, and vows to the 

"The neighbouring compart- 
ment shov/s the son upon a couch 
fast recovering, feeding himself with 
a spoon and bason. The parents 
are placed at each end of the conch 
in an attitude of thanksgiving. The 
following cartoon shows the old 
man struck with leprosy and bed- 
ridden. The Martyr, dressed in 
full robes, stands at the bed-side, 
and charges him with the warning 
to the parents of the child not to 
neglect the performance of the vow. 
In the next portion of the group 
the leper is represented in bed con- 
veying to the parents, who stand 
in deep attention at the bed-side, 

the warning with wlilch he has 
been charged by St. Thomas. The 
leprosy of the sick man is vtry 
curiously shown ; the legend, 
* Creduhis accedis . . , vot 
. . . /e^rt nee obedit.^ And now 
forming the central medallion of 
the group, and the most important, 
is depicted the vengeance of the 
Saint for the slighted vow and 
neglected warning. In the centre 
of a large apartment stands a bier, 
on which is stretched the victim of 
the Saint's wrath. At the head 
and feet of the corpse, leaning on 
large chairs or thrones, are the 
father and mother distracted with 
grief, the latter with uncovered 
head and naked feet gazing with 
deep despondency on her dead 
child. Behind the bier are seen 
several figures in unusually violent 
attitudes expressive of grief, from 
which circumstance they are 
probably professional mourners. 
Whilst, unseen by the persons be- 
neath, the figure of St. Thomas in 
full pontificals is appearing through 
the ceiling. He bears in his right 
hand a sword, and points with his 
left to the dead body of the victim 
upon the bier. It is singular that 
Becket is always represented in 
full episcopal costume, when ap- 
pearing in dreams or visions, in 
these windows. The legend at- 
tached to this light is, * Vitidicte 
violes — Domus egra — mortua 

* * The last medallion of the 
group represents the final accom- 
plishment of the vow. The father 
is seen bending reverently before 
the altar of the Saint, offering to 
the attendant priest a large bowl. 

Shrine of St. TJwmas. 


filled with broad gold and silver 
pieces. Near him is the mother, 
holding by the hand the son 
miraculously recalled to life. In 
token of their pilgrimage, both the 
mother and son hold the usual 
staves. The expression of the vari- 
ous figures in the above compart- 
ments, both in gesture and feature, 
is rendered with great skill. In 
the execution of this story, the 
points which doubtless the artists 
of the monastery were chiefly 
anxious to impress upon the minds 
of the devotees who thronged to 
the Shrine are prominently brought 
out : the extreme danger of delay- 
ing the performance of a vow, 
under whatever circumstances 
made, the expiation sternly re- 
quired by the Saint, and the satis- 
faction with which the Mart}T 
viewed money offerings made at 
his Shrine. 

*'The fulness with which the 
last group has been described will 
render it less necessary to speak at 
length of the rest of the window, 
as similar miracles described by 
Benedict are in the same minute 
manner represented. 

** The group above should con- 
sist of two miracles, the first 
described by Benedict,^ wherein 
Robert, a smith from the Isle of 
Thanet, is miraculously cured of 
blindness. In a dream, he is 
directed by Beckct to repair to 
Canterbury, where a monk should 
anoint his eyes and restore his 
sight ; and he is seen stretched in 
prayer at the priest's feet in front 
of the altar. In another medallion 
the priest anoints liis eyes with the 
■ Benedict, i. 3, 36. 

miraculous blood, and his sight is 
restored. In another, Robert is 
seen offering at the altar a large 
bowl of golden pieces, in gratitude 
for the Saint's interference. 

"The next group proves that 
not only offerings and prayers were 
made at the Shrine, but also severe 
penances were performed. In one 
compartment, a kneeling female 
figure is bowing herself to the 
ground before the priest at the 
altar, who is receiving a large 
candle apparently offered by her, 
holding a book in his left hand, 
whilst two men, armed with long 
rods, stand by. In the next me- 
dallion, the female figure is being 
violently beaten by the two men 
with the rods, one of whom stands 
on either side of her. 

" In the third, though the 
woman is falling fainting to the 
ground, one of the figures is still 
striking her with the scourge. 
The other figure is addressing the 
priest, who is sitting unmoved by 
the scene reading from the book ; 
a figure is standing by with a pil- 
grim's staff, looking at the flagel- 
lation, much concerned. A legend 
is attached, * Stat modo jocu?ida 
lapsajacet moribimda.* 

"In the other two windows 
may be traced many of the multi- 
farious miracles described by Bene- 
dict, and by him thus summed 
up : » — « Quae est enim in Ecclesia 
conditio, quis sexus vel aetas, quis 
gradus vel ordo, qui non in hoc 
thesauro nostro aliquid sibi utile 
inventiat? Administratur huic 
schismalicis lumen veritalis, pas- 
• Ibid. I. a. 


Beckefs Shrine in Painted Window, 

toribus timidis confidentia, sanitas 
jegrotantibus, et psenitentibus veni- 
at ejus meritis coeci vident, claudi 
ambulabunt, leprosi mundantur, 
surdi aiidiunt, mortui resurjunt, 
loquuntur miiti, paupcres evan- 

gelizanlur, paralytici convalescunt, 
detumescunt hodropici, sensui re- 
donantur amentes, curantur epi- 
leptici, febricitantes evadunt, ct ut 
breviter concludatur, omnimoda 
curatur infirmitas.* G. A." 


DRAL. (See p. 220.) 

"The accompanying view of 
the Shrine of Becket is engraved 
from a portion of a painted glass 
window of the 13th century, on 
the north side of the Trinity 
Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral. 
It is one of a group of medallions 
representing a vision described by 
Benedict ' as having been seen by 
himself. Becket is here shown 
issuing from his shrine in full pon- 
tificals to go to the altar as if to 
celebrate mass. The monk to 
whom the vision appears is lying 
in the foreground on a couch. 
The shrine, by a slight anachron- 
ism, is represented as that erected 
subsequejUly to the vision ; and 
this representation is the more 
valuable as being the only one 
known to exist ;" for there can be 
little doubt that the drawing in the 
Cottoniaa MS. does not attempt 
to represent the Shrine^ but only 
the out->ide covering or case. 
The medallion is the more in- 
teresting, from being an un- 

" Benedict, i. a. 

• I am told by the Dean of Ely that 
It nearly resembles a structure in Ely 

doubted work of the 13th cen- 
tury ; and having been designed 
for a position immediately opposite 
to and within a few yards of the 
Shrine itself, and, occupying the 
place of honour in the largest and 
most important window, without 
doubt represents the main features 
of the Shrine faithfully. 

"The view will be found to 
tally in a singular manner with the 
descrip/ioHy though not with the 
sketch in the Cottonian MS., given 
on plate facing p. 222. 

*' In the drawing upon the glass 
cartoon, the Shrine, shaped like an 
ark, was placed upon a stone or 
marble platform which rested upon 
arches supported by six pillars- 
three on either side. The space be- 
tween these pillars was open, and it 
was between them that crippled and 
diseased pilgrims were allowed to 
place themselves for closer approxi- 
mation to the martyr's body, as 
mentioned by Benedict. This could 
not have been the case had the 

Cathedral, of unknown origin, forming 
part of the tomb of Bishop Hotham. — 
A. P. S. 

Beckefs Shrine in Painted Window. 289 

Cottoniau drawing been correct, 
as no spaces are there given, but 
only a few very small openings. 
But in the glass painting it is 
clearly delineated, as the pillar of the 
architectural background, passing 
behind the Shrine, is again shown 
in the open space below. This 
platform was finished at the upper 
edge by a highly ornamented cor- 
nice, and upon this cornice the 
wooden cover of the Shrine rested. 

"The Shrine was built of 
wood, the sides and sloping roof 
of it being ornamented with raised 
bands, or ribs, forming quatrefoils 
in the middle, and smaller half 
circles along the edges. This mode 
of ornamentation was not uncom- 
mon at that date, as is shown upon 
works of the kind yet remaining. 

"Inside the quatrefoils and 
semicircles so formed were raised, 
in like manner, ornaments resem- 
bling leaves of three and five lobes, 
the then usual ornament. The 
wooden boards and raised bands 
and ornaments were then covered 
with plates of gold, and on the 
raised bands and ornamented leaves 
were set the most valuable of the 
gems. The wondrous carbuncle, 
or Regale of France, was doubt- 
less set as a central ornament of 
one of the quatrefoils. 

*♦ The plain golden surface left 
between the quatrefoils and semi- 
circles then required some orna- 
ment to break the bright monoto- 
nous surface, and it was apparently 
covered with a diagonal trellis- 
work of golden wire, cramped at its 
intersections to the golden plates 
Rs shown in the engraving. It 
was to this wire trellis-work that 

the loose jewels and pearls, rings, 
brooches, angels, images, and other 
ornaments offered at the Shrine, 
were attached. 

" In the interior rested the body 
of Becket, which was exposed to 
view by opening a highly orna- 
mented door or window at the 
ends. The saint is emerging 
through one of these in the view, 

" These windows were occasion- 
ally opened, to allow pilgrims, 
probably of the highest orders, 
who were blind or deaf, to insert 
their head. 

"The ridge, or upper part of 
the roof, was adorned with large 
groups of golden leaves. 

" On comparison of the engrav- 
ing, as thus explained, with the 
description given in the Cottonian 
MS., no discrepancy will be found, 
but the drawing appears to be only 
a simple outline approximating to 
the general form, or perhaps only 
of the wooden cover, but even that 
must have been ornamented to 
some degree. G. A." 

The treatise of Benedict, to 
which allusion is made in these 
notes, has already been referred 
to in p. 177. It is a document of 
considerable interest, both as con- 
taining a contemporary and de- 
tailed account of these strange 
miracles, and also as highly illus- 
trative of the manners of the time. 
On some future occasion I may 
return to it at length. I will here 
confine myself to a few particulars, 
which ought to have been incor- 
porated into the body of the 

The earlier shrine in the crypt 
has nowhere been so fully dc- 

290 Beckefs Shrine in Painted Window. 

scribed. It was first opened to the 
public gaze on April 2, 1171.* 

The body of the Saint reposed 
in the marble sarcophagus in which 
it had been deposited on the day 
after the murder. Round the sar- 
cophagus, for the sake of security, 
was built a wall of large hewn 
stones, compacted with cement, 
iron, and lead. The wall rose to 
the height of a foot above the 
coffin, and the whole was covered 
by a large marble slab. In each 
side of the wall were two windows, 
to enable pilgrims to look in and 
kiss the tomb itself. In one of 
these windows it was that Henry 
laid his head during his flagellation. 
It was a work of difficulty — some- 
times an occasion for miraculous 
interference — to thrust the head, 
still more the body, through these 
apertures. Some adventurous pil- 
grims crawled entirely through, and 
laid themselves at full length in the 
space intervening between the top 
of the sarcophagus and the super- 
incumbent slab ; and on one occa- 
sion, the monks were in consider- 
able apprehension, lest the intruder 
should be unable to creep out 

The tomb — probably the marble 
covering — was stuck all over with 
tapers, the offerings of pilgrims, 
like that of S. Radegonde at Poi- 

> Benedict, i. 30. 

• Idem i. 40, 41, 53, 54, 55. 
" Idetu, li. 13. 

•, i. 77 ; ii. 53, 54. 

• Idtttt, iii. 41, 58. 

• Idem, i. 42, 43. 

tiers ; and, in the darkness of the 
crypt and the draughts from the 
open windows, it was a matter of 
curiosity and importance to see 
which kept burning for the longest 
time.* Votive memorials of waxen 
legs, feet, arms, anchors, hung 
round.* A monk always sate be- 
side the tomb to receive the 
gifts, and to distribute the sacred 

The "water of Canterbury," or 
"the water of St. Thomas," as it 
was called,* was originally con- 
tained in small earthenware pots, 
which were carried away in the 
pouches of the pilgrims. But the 
Saint played so many freaks with 
his devotees (I use the language of 
Benedict himself), by causing all 
manner of strange cracks, leaks, 
and breakages in these pots, that a 
young plumber at Canterbury con- 
ceived the bold design of checking 
the inconvenience by furnishing the 
pilgrims with leaden or tin bottles 
instead. This was the commence- 
ment of the " ampulles " of Canter- 
bury, and the "miracles of con- 
fraction " ceased.' 

The water was used partly for 
washing, but chiefly (and this was 
peculiar* to the Canterbury pil- 
grims) drunk as a medicine. The 
effect is described as almost always 
that of a violent emetic. '• — A. P. S. 

' Jucundum quoddam miracultim, i. 
43 : Liidii> Ma'^tvri^, i. 43; Jucuiidiutb 
Mira^ub <. 46. 

* Heiipii ci. ii. 35. 

• Idetn, 1. 13. 

•• Idem, 1. 33. 34, 84 ; ii. 30; lii. 69. 

StfHtrtiaiotumj ^'• 

BECKET's shrink (see note, p. 291). 

{Tojaccf. -^u 



The accompanying engraving 
is a fac-simile of a drawing of the 
Shi-ine in ink, on a folio page of 
the Cottonian MS., Tib. E, viii. 
fol. 269. It has been already en- 
graved in Dugdale's Monasticon, 
vol i. p. 10, and partially in 
Nicholas, Erasmus, pp. 118, 165, 
but with several deviations from 
the original It is here given 
exactly as it appears in the MS., 
even to the bad drawing of the end 
of the Shrine, and the effects of the 
fire which partially destroyed th«i 
MSS. in 1731, visible m the muti- 
lated engravings of the page. It 
will be observed on a comparison 
n'ith the appearance in Dugdale 
and Nichols, that the skull and the 
bones on the lid of the iron chest 
are not (as there represented) raised, 
but lie flat on the surface ; and are 
therefore, in all probability, not 
meant to pourtray the actual relics 
(which were inside), but only a 
carving or painting of them on the 
lid. The piece of the skull is also 
here exhibited in a form much more 
conformable to the written account, 
than would be inferred from Duir- 
dale's inexact copy. 

The burnt inscriptions may be 
restored thus, from Dugdale's Latin 
translation of them, and from 
Siow's Annals (Anno 1538), whose 
description of the Shrine is evi- 
dently taken from this MS., before 
it had been mulilaled by the fire of 
i73i :- 

(1) The title;— 

The form and figure of the Shrine 
of Tho: Beckct of Canterbury, 

(2) A statement respecting tlie 
three finials of the Canopy: — 
Silver gUt bo ounces. [Silver gi]// 
80 ounces. Silver gilt 60 ounces. 

(3) A description of the Shrine : — 
Tern: H. 8. All above the stone 

work was first of wood, jewels of 
gold set with stone [covered with 
plates of gold], wrought upon 
with gold wier, then again with 
Jewells, gold, as bro[oQ\its, 
images, angels, rings] 10 or 12 
together, cramped with gold intc 
the ground of gold, the Spoils of 
which filled two] chests such as 6 
or 8 men could but convey on out 
of the church. At [one side was 
a stone with] an Angell of gold 
poynting thereunto, offered ther by 
a king of France, [which King 
Henry put] into a ring, and 
wear it on his^ thumb, 

(4) A description of the chest (not 
a table, as Mr. Nichols, p. 118, 
erroneously infers, from Dugdale's 
Latin translation of the inscription, 
but the identical iron chest depo- 
sited by Langton within the golden 
Shrine) : — 

This chest of iron f£7«[tained 
the] bones of Thomas Beck[cl, skull 
and] all, with the wouude [of his 
death] and the pece cut [out of his 
skull laid in the game wound]. 

• Du£dt!e, In his lAlin translation (p. 10), insert* here the word rapacious 
" r«/«tfi pollice." 


Aberbrothocky 189 

Alfege, St.y tomb of, 68, 186 

Augustine^ St.^ mission of, 28; 

landing at Ebbe's Fleet, 29, 30 ; 

interview with Ethelbert, 31-34; 

arrival at Canterbury, 35 ; 

Stable-gate, 36 \ baptism of 

Ethelbert, 36 ; worship at St. 

Pancras, 38 ; monastery, library, 

etc., of, 41 ; foundation of Sees 

of Rochester and London, 43 ; 

death, 44 ; effects of his mission, 

46 ; character, 52 
Augustine' Sy St.., Abbe)>, 4I, 73, 183, 

186, 193, 214 
Avranchesy Cathedral of, 1 16 

Beckety Sources of information, 
60-62 ; return from France, 62 ; 
controversy with Archbishop of 
York, 63 ; parting with Abbot 
of St. Albans, 65 ; insults from 
Brocs of Saltwood, 66 ; scene in 
Cathedral on Christmas day, 66 ; 
the fatal Tuesday, 74 ; appear- 
ance of Becket, 76 ; interview 
with knights, 77-81 ; retreats to 
Cathedral, 82 ; miracle of lock, 
83 ; scene in Cathedral, 85 ; 
entrance of knights, 85 ; " The 
Martyrdom," 91-94 ; watching 
over his dead body, 96 ; dis- 
covery of hair shirt, 97 ; un- 
wrapping his body, 99-101 ; 
burial, loi ; canonisation, 102 ; 
effect of martyrdom and spread 
of his worship, 187-192 ; slirine 
erected, 195 ; translation in 
1220, 201 ; well, 225, 2^2, 259; 
abolition of festival, 238 ; trial, 
240 ; destruction of shrine, 243, 

Btnedict^ 61, 192 

Bertha, 31, 45 

Black Prince, birth of, 130 ; quali- 
ties, ib. ; education at Queen's 
College, 131, 178 ; name given, 
136 ; visits Canterbury, 140 ; 
well at Harbledown, 140 ; mar- 
riage, 141 ; chantry in crypt, ib. ; 
Spanish campaign, 142 ; return 
— illness, 142 ; appears in par- 
liament, 143 ; death-bed, ib. ; 
exorcism by Bishop of Bangor, 
145 ; death, 146 ; mourning, 
147; funeral, 148-151, 171 ; 
tomb, 151 ; effect of life, 153- 
155; ordinance of Chantries, 
159 ; will, 164 
Bohemian Embassy, 202 
Bret, or Brito, 70, 96, 113, 190 
Broc family, 64, 66, 72, 73i 94 

Canterbury Cathedral, first endow- 
ment of, 39, 47 ; primacy, 46, 
47 ; scene in, 68 ; at the time of 
the murder, 85-87 ; desecration 
and reconsecration of, loi ; King 
Henry's penance in, 117; his- 
torical lessons of, 122 ; tombs 
in, 129 ; Black Prince's visit to, 
140 ; insignificance before mur- 
der of Becket, 182 ; Pilgrims' 
entrance to, 215 ; crypt, 218 ; 
Shrine, 221, 243, 244 

Chaucer's Ca7iterbu7y Tales, 20^- 

Chequers Inn, 213 

Chichcle, 129, 153, 154 

Colet, Dean, 232-237 

Cranmer, 239 

Crescent, 222, 28 1 

Cressy, battle of, 133-135 

Crown, Becket* s, 221, 272 

Ebbe's Fleet, 28-30, 54 



Edward /,, 229 

Erasmus, 234, 249 

Ethdbert, King, 30 ; interview 

with Augustine, 31-34 ; baptism 

of, 36 ; death of, 46 

Fawkes* Hall, 141 
Fitzranulphy 108 
Pitzurse, 70, 77 

Gorharn in Normandy, 1 16 
Gregory the Great, character, 22, 
23 ; dialogue with Anglo-Saxon 
slaves, 25-27 ; effects on English 
church, 46-49 

Harbledoiun, 142, 210, 236, 266 ; 
Black Prince's well at, 140 

Harrow, Becket parts with Abbot 
of St. Albans at, 65 ; vicar ex- 
communicated, 67 

Henry II., fury, 69 ; remorse, 1 14 ; 
penance, 1 16-122 ; death, 199 

Henry III., 198 

Henry IV., 150 

Henry VIII., 241, 242, 249 

Inns for Pilgnms, 214 
IsabellUy Queeti, 229 

John, king 0/ England, 6c), 194 
John, King of France, 137, 139, 

229, 265 
fubihes, 211, 227, 237 

Langion, 199, 250 

Limoges, siege of, 1 55 

Lollards, 230 

London, See of, 43, 47, 63 ; pil- 
grims' approach from, 204 ; wor- 
ship of Becket in, 191 

Louis VI I, 223, 265 

Lyons, Chapel of St. Thomas at, 

Mailing, South, turning-table at, 

Martinis, St., Church, 35, 53 
Maiy, Queen, 242, 244 

Miracles, 83, 103, 276, 283, 287, 

Montreuilf visit of Madame de, 

Moreville, Hugh de, 7c, 94, 190 

Pancras, St., church of, 37 
Pilgi-ims, 2GO, 221, 287 
Pilgrims* Road, 20^, 260 
PilgHms" signs, 227, 290 
Poitiers, battle of, 136-140 

Queefi's College, Oxford, 131, 178 

Reculver, 39, 46 

Regale of France, 223, 244 

Richard II, 276 

Richborough, 29, 35 

Rochester, fountiation of See of, 43 

Salt wood Castle, 64, 72 

Sandwich, 62, 202, 256 

Sens, 1 88, 195 

Southampton, Henry II. arrives at, 
119; pilgrims' approach from, 

Stable-gate, 36 

Sudbury, Simon of 129, 149, 231 

Sword of Bret, 92, 190 ; of More- 
ville, 190 ; of the B.ack Prince, 


Tabard Inn, 207 

" Thomas,^^ name of, 190 

Tracy, 70, 1 08 

Verona, Church of St. Thomas at, 
1 88 

William the Englishman and of 

Sens, 194 
Wiiliam Thomas, 258 
IVtlliam the Lion, 189 
IVtlsnake, 277 
Wyclip, 132, 178 

York, controversy with Archbishop 
of, 62, 63 



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